Important Questions, Important Answers

Over on his blog, Peregrinations, there is the first of a series of posts by Peregrinus, and in it are some interesting questions which could form the basis for useful discussion. I happened to see it on Fr Stephen Smuts' blog, and thought it worth reprinting here.

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Why are some Anglicans reluctant about the Ordinariates?

by Peregrinus

This begins a series of posts which will seek to address questions that people have about the process of entering into full communion with the Catholic Church through the Personal Ordinariates being erected to receive Anglicans.

Barriers at St. Peter’s, Rome

There are, of course, many reasons for the reluctance of many Anglicans and others to enter a process for reception through the ordinariates. Anglicanorum Coetibus (AC) is the Apostolic Constitution crafted by Pope Benedict XVI to allow Anglicans, the Anglican patrimony and those drawn to the Church through the Anglican ethos to share full communion in response to our Lord’s prayer that we all may be one, ut unum sint.

AC is a thoughtful, realistic and generous ecumenical response to requests made over the past thirty years by Anglican bishops and faithful to enter into full unity with the Catholic Church while retaining those elements of Anglican culture and tradition which conform to the Catholic faith.

This post will list some of these concerns and future posts will seek to address these from a Canadian perspective.

First a few facts and estimates:

– To date there are eight bishops worldwide (by my count which may be out of date) who have been received into full communion and ordained.

– Around a hundred priests (with more in process) have been received and ordained

– Something going on a couple of thousand lay Anglicans have been received or are in a process to be received into the three ordinariates that currently serve the UK, the USA, Canada and Australia.

These numbers, though small, change monthly. Generously, the Holy Father has bestowed the rank of prelate of honour (Monsignor) upon each of the received former Anglican bishops following their ordinations.

Three of these former Anglican bishops have been created “ordinaries” that is leaders with jurisdiction for those who enter the non-territorial personal ordinariates erected:

1. Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (OOLW) for England, Scotland and Wales

2. Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (OCSP) to include jurisdiction for those received in North America including Canada and the USA

3. Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross (OOLSC) for Australia and, presumably, contiguous regions

These ordinaries act with authority and jurisdiction like that of bishops of a diocese without the limitation of geography within the respective Episcopal Conferences to which they relate e.g. Msgr Steenson of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter acts in concert with the conferences of bishops in Canada and the USA.

On a personal level, for example, an individual person received into the Ordinariate in Toronto comes under the same “ordinary” jurisdiction as someone in Houston,TX i.e. Msgr Steenson and does not come within the jurisdiction of the Cardinal Archbishop of Toronto though, naturally, the ordinary and the cardinal co-operate in every way possible to promote the unified witness of the Catholic Church.

Anglican Use Mass celebrated on Sundays at Sacré-Coeur Parish in Toronto

All of this should indicate that there is a warm and generous welcome for Anglican clergy and people. Some Anglicans and others, however, demur, delay or have additional questions about the process for a variety of reasons and from varying circumstances. A few have decisively (for now anyway) decided to continue as Anglicans or Anglican Catholics or Anglo-Catholics as they variously describe themselves.

This article will begin to explore some of the concerns that people have in a non-partisan manner by listing questions that have been raised. Together we seek some answers or responses to the many details that an unfolding process presents.

Clarification has been the purpose of all of the postings on this blog and so your responses and other questions and constructive comments are invited. These will be vetted and presented to advance the discussion and illuminate what, as we have said, has been and will continue to be a developing process with many twists and winds along the “narrow way” that we are called to by the Gospel.

To record some of the concerns of people, I have been compiling a list over the summer of 2012. Here it is for your consideration.

1. Authority

Is there still a place for the voice of the laity in the Ordinariate?

Will the Ordinary have real control over the administration and assets of the Ordinariate which, in the case of Canada and the USA, is spread over a continent.

What role will the local bishops have and can Anglican patrimony be restricted by an unsympathetic bishop?

Is there any way that conservative Anglicans (those who have evangelical sympathies and others) might be persuaded to enter into full communion?

2. Liturgy

Will the liturgy be familiar to Anglicans or will there be such changes that worship feels foreign? Will the great Anglican musical tradition be nurtured and developed within the Ordinariates?

Will the RSV and King James (A.V.) bibles be used? Is it a “deal breaker” as some have said if the KJV is not used at Mass? Can the KJV be used for other services, the Offices, group and private devotions, etc., even if the RSV is the authorized text for lections at Mass?

Will priests be required to use the approved Anglican Use of the Roman Rite or will they increasingly move to the Ordinary or Extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite? Who decides?

3. Economics

What assets will groups be able to bring with them and what say will they have in the use of these assets. With whom will the deeds for property reside?

Will small communities be able to afford to pay priests a living wage? Will priests have to work for the local RC diocese dividing time between Anglican Ordinariate congregations and other parish or chaplaincy work?

Will there be support from local dioceses and conferences of bishops in terms of health care, pensions and retirement care for priests and other employees of the Ordinariate?

4. Culture and Sharing

Pope Benedict has expressed his concern that Anglicans bring their patrimony with them to share with other Catholics. How will this happen? What form will this sharing take or will Anglicans be absorbed into the larger Western Rite Catholic community eventually?

Will young men who marry continue to be approved for ordination? Will the seminaries make allowance and provision for married candidates for ordination?

How will formation for the clergy of the Anglican ordinariates take place? Will everything be centred in Houston?

Will the Anglican Use parishes such as Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, TX be included ultimately in the ordinariate? What will relations between AU and Ordinariate parishes and groups be in the meantime?

So, we welcome your thoughts on these matters and your further questions as we seek to follow our Lord in the way of unity under the guidance of the Holy Father and of those entrusted with the implementation of AC.

In light of the many ups and downs of any movement to unity within the Body of Christ we would do well to keep in mind the words of a young Ordinariate member: “An Apostolic Constitution is for the ages. It will be here for any remaining Anglicans in 200 years.”

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Your responses are most welcome in the comments here, but since Peregrinus is asking the questions, you might like to go to his blog and post some comments there, too.

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.

34 thoughts on “Important Questions, Important Answers”

  1. Will Anglican Ordinariates be able to send missioners beyond their jurisdiction and plant churches in other countries? These countries may have a Roman Catholic, or Orthodox majority or even a Protestant one. They could also be non Christian. Can they spread an Anglicanism but united with Rome like what the Church of England and the US Episcopal Church did?

    1. Further to Ben Vallejo's questions: How will the Anglican Use be received in non-English speaking countries or parishes? What about French speaking Anglicans in Africa, Spanish speaking Anglicans in Latin America, Chinese speaking Anglicans in Asia, etc. This is a secondary question, but one that will come up if the ordinariates are successful.

  2. Good afternoon.

    Thank you, Peregrinus, some very good questions.

    I'm all for unity and uniformity. Now that we have unity (i.e. for those of us who have been received into the Catholic Church) we should look at how we will have uniformity in our 'Anglican patrimony' worship. To my knowledge, the only 'approved' Anglican liturgy is that contained in the Book of Divine Worship (which allows for a lot of diversity) – but it appears as though some communities are using Prayer Book or English Missal wording in the Mass. (Perhaps this a part of our Anglican patrimony that we should have left behind – i.e. the desire to do 'our own thing'!)

    It seems to me that we should only use the BDW until such time as the CDF approves another 'Anglican liturgy'.


    1. The CDF has approved the use of Canadian Book of Common Prayer prayers for those places where the Book of Divine Worship had put in intact prayers from the U.S. version of the BCP. That is hardly "doing our own thing," Sutton.

    2. Given the range of things that are added to typical parish masses in the US, I don't think this is especially problematic. In our parish, the priests regularly slip in their own ad-libbed or prepared comments/prayers/introductory sentences — and they are restrained and conservative by comparison with most of the Catholic clergy I have seen in action. In principle, "saying the black and doing the red" is preferable. Not so common in practice.

      "Enrichments" are typically Anglican, and in the Anglo Catholic tradition have almost always been of solidly orthodox and Catholic material. There is quite a bit of liberty for additions to the liturgy in terms of hymns and anthems — which is why the English Hymnal included the minor propers, how Agnus Dei was slipped in, and how the Angelus and other Marian devotions became fixtures after mass.

    3. On the issue of the KJV, I would appreciate approval to use certain texts, if not the whole KJV. For example, the John 1:1-14 is so beloved among Anglicans and poses no doctrinal problems that I am aware of.

  3. You make several good observations to the effect that by and large, there is not yet a fully realized ordinariate for outsiders to look at and decide if that is for them. Those who join now are committing to some unknowns about liturgy and authority, etc. Give it a decade, and this won't be a factor.

    The other side of the coin is the situation that a group is coming from. Plenty of factors may make this the right moment to make a move for one group and the wrong moment to make a move for another. Are they waiting for something such as . . . to see who the next bishop is? to see if they can retain their priest, or to call a new one? to see how it plays out with the ordination of women? to see if they will be able to secure their property? to see how things in their current jurisdiction take shape? to see if parishioners can come to a common mind about a future direction together.

    1. "…there is not yet a fully realized ordinariate…"
      Perhaps it will be like communism, "never properly tried"?

      1. Communism is different from the Ordinariates because communism is atheistic. There are differences, you see.

        You just don't like the Ordinariates, which is why you compare it to communism, which destroyed churches and killed the religious.

          1. What point? That the "Ordinariates are Destined to Fail" point?

            Since my intellectual superiors would like to connect a group within the Roman Catholic Church with a godless movement that left millions dead, I'd at least try to correct them with the difference between the Ordinariate and communism.

      2. LBS I would urge you not to try to confound others with irony. It confuses them and could possibly lead to violence. However I wonder what you would make of this: 'the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament debacle and the increasing evidence that most of the devotees of the Ordinariate in North America regard Adolf Hitler as a "dangerous liberal" has dampened enthusiasm for the Holy Father's magnanimous offer among Anglo Catholics in Britain." This was written by my nephew Aubrey in his blog recently. I think it is idle conjecture, but could there possibly be any truth in it?

        1. Adolf Hitler, Lenin, Mussolini, and Robespierre were all dangerous, godless liberals.

          National Socialism, International Socialism, Italian Socialism, and "Rule of the Virtuous" were all liberal ideas that ended with millions dead.

          People are uncomfortable with this because they want to believe that if people are good enough and smart enough, they can justify having godlike powers.

          And in my generation, brainwashed by 50 years of liberal media and policies, everyone who is not a liberal is a "Fascist" or a "Nazi" and I am tempted to truly stomp on their faces with jackboots.

            1. Of course not literally. I don't like Hitler/Neo-nazi movements. And jackboots seem uncomfortable anyways.

              I only have flip-flops with me at the moment, and I will probably damage it if I attempt to stomp on the face of liberalism. It would be a waste of a good $4.00's worth of flip-flops.

              It's just that I feel that I cannot be tepid and lukewarm about this issue. If I did, I'd probably lie down and wait for the end.

            1. I agree; and as Harry Truman once said, "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." Moreover, there are few things as tiresomely presumptuous as guests on a blog instructing the moderators how and when to moderate.

          1. Have you had an opportunity to visit our moderator's personal blog? It provides very interesting insight into the moderator's Sitz im Leben and helps explain why this blog is still going gangbusters despite its relatively narrow scope when so many others are moribund and/or unreadable. Stay calm.

  4. I do think this will be an excellent discussion, but to set expectations, I do not believe any past participant on this blog is in a position to authoritatively answer any of the excellent questions listed. I say “past participant” because the Holy Father, himself, or any of his representatives, has not yet posted, but perhaps he may start tomorrow!

    Any “answers” that are put forth, no matter how well deduced or reasoned, would be speculative. Remember, we are in new territory here.


  5. crosstiber – The ordination of women is not something that is going to "play out" in the RC. Rome has already settled that one. Thanks be to God! Let's stay on topic with the things that are up for discussion and development- liturgy, finances, etc.

  6. Thank you, Deborah. I was not aware that "The CDF has approved the use of Canadian Book of Common Prayer prayers for those places where the Book of Divine Worship had put in intact prayers from the U.S. version of the BCP".

    Perhaps, when you get a moment, you can direct me to this CDF approval document?

    Many thanks,


  7. I've noticed that a current ACA bishop who is apparently against becoming part of the Ordinariate stating that he has a good working relationship with Msgr. Steenson. It seems I have yet to see any of the former ACA bishops who were in favor of joining the Ordinariate indicate that they have a good working relationship as well. With the various recent ordinations, has there been many that have come from the ACA? It seemed that the recent announcement regarding the former cathedral in Orlando did not include a single clergy member having been approved for ordination.

    1. Yes it did, Bishop Campese disclosed in it that Fr Holliday, the cathedral's dean [Mod. curate], has received a nulla osta from Rome. To date, I know of 2 other ACA priests who have received a nulla osta, as well as a former TEC priest who was received in the Church a year ago.

      + Pax et Bonum

      1. Bishop Moyer received a nulla osta from Rome as I recall, but after some initial indication that he needed to wait for an approval by Archbishop Chaput it became clear that Msgr. Steenson was rejecting him.

  8. I think what crosstiber means by the 'ordination' of woman is the pending decision in the CofE pertaining to the episcopate. As stated this is NOT an issue in the RC.

  9. I heartily concur with the Sutton comments on uniformity in the Liturgy.

    Note the Ordinary's statement on the Liturgy of the Ordinariate: "At the time the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was established, the CDW (the Congregation for Divine Worship) provided important guidance for our liturgical use: The Book of Divine Worship Rite I should be amended to bring it into conformity with the Roman Missal 3rd edition, particularly the words of Consecration. For those congregations that prefer a contemporary idiom, the Roman Missal 3rd edition could be used. We have therefore asked that the congregations of the Ordinariate follow this direction."

  10. I find the CDF suggestion about Rite 1 in BDW bizarre and confusing. BDW as used in the Anglican Use parishes will be just fine, but must be changed in the Ordinariate? And what does that mean in practice? Just scrapping holdovers from the old Novus Ordo translations or a more wholesale modernization? Why pick on the words of consecration and not the rest of the Canon?

    1. It seems the changes to conform to the 3rd Edition didn't require many changes to the BDW. "All" to "many", "Cup" to "Chalice" and using one of the approved Memorial Acclamations being the main ones I can recall.

    1. The CDF sent a letter to Msgr. Steenson that he brought to Canada with him on his last visit. I didn't see it; I only heard that it existed.

      But we do have permission in Canada in the interim (while we are waiting for a new Ordinariate liturgy) to use the Canadian 1962 Book of Common Prayers in those places in the Book of Divine Worship that used American BCP prayers.

      However, Cardinal Collins has decided that under his jurisdiction, Anglican Use liturgies in the Toronto archdiocese will be straight Book of Divine Worship with the American BCP prayers. The explanation that I heard for this, second or third or fourth hand, is that given the difficulties in implementing the new changes to the English translation of the Roman Missal, he did not want to allow variances here and there that might encourage others to ask for changes in their parishes. So he is going by the book, even though I understand he did see the letter from CDF. But while priests are doing our liturgy for us they are under his jurisdiction and not Msgr. Steenson's.

      The liturgy that Ottawa Archbishop Prendergast has celebrated twice with us—first at our reception into the Catholic Church April 15 and again on Ascension—is Book of Divine Worship with the Canadian 1962 BCP prayers substituted. All proper permissions, including that of Cardinal Collins, as the episcopal delegate, were obtained for this from my limited view as a lay person. I do not know what is being done in other dioceses such as Victoria or Calgary.

      I don't think other archbishops in Canada have done our liturgy, but then Archbishop Prendergast is more daring about things and is one of the few bishops in North America who will also celebrate the Extraordinary Form. (And, because of his familiarity with the EF, he did not find the BDW rubrics intimidating and did not have to "train" ahead of time to be able to complete all the genuflections.

      We know however that this is a temporary scenario and we are grateful for it as a gesture of welcome from the Catholic Church but when the Ordinariate liturgy is finalized we will say the black and do the red.


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