There's a new article up on the Melbourne Archdiocese's website, in which Bishop Peter Elliott gives a few more tantalizing details about the formation of an Australian Ordinariate.
Note that he says the Ordinariate could be up and people received by Pentecost!
What about us in Canada? What about my friends in America? I got word from someone in the Toronto Archdiocese that Canada is behind England and the United States.
It makes me want to bash my head into the wall.
Canada's situation is even less complex than that of the United Kingdom and is actually more similar to that of Australia. In Canada, most of the clergy and faithful who want to join the Ordinariate are from the Traditional Anglican Communion's Anglican Catholic Church of Canada. We already have good relationships built with the Anglican priests that have expressed interest in joining. We're even in preliminary discussions about a Becoming One event up here in the snow.
First, though, here's an excerpt of Bishop Elliott's remarks:
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Australian Anglicans seeking full communion with the Catholic Church may have the opportunity by Pentecost 2011, Episcopal Delegate for the Ordinariate Bishop Peter Elliott told Kairos Catholic Journal yesterday.
Reflecting on the historic announcement of the Australian Ordinariate Implementation Committee formation on 16 December, Bishop Elliott said once the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has determined and decreed that an Ordinariate be established in Australia, it will be inaugurated through public Eucharistic celebrations.
“These events will happen around the country,” he said. “But people do not have to enter at that time. The Ordinariates will always remain open to welcome new members and friends. Once the Ordinariate is established, any Catholic will be able to receive the sacraments in an Ordinariate church.”
Bishop Elliott said it was difficult to estimate the numbers who will enter the Ordinariate, but in the beginning small groups will inaugurate the parishes.
Bishop Elliott said membership of the Australian Ordinariate Implementation Committee was still being finalised but it will include representatives from the Anglican Church of Australia, the Anglican Catholic Church of Australia (Traditional Anglican Communion) and the Catholic Church. The committee will take up practical issues, including the timing of the reconciliation of lay faithful, how best this can be achieved in accord with the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus and local conditions.
“The committee will deal with practical matters such as property, finance, as well as legal questions so that the Ordinariate will be in accord both with Canon Law and Civil Law,” he said. “Because the Australian Ordinariate covers a whole continent, it is a rather more diverse and complex project that forming an Ordinariate in the United Kingdom.”
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I hope that Cardinal Wuerl and Archbishop Collins will establish an implementation committee as soon as possible that is made up of people who are qualified to represent the various groups involved.
Note that the Australian Committee will have TAC representatives (and since the TAC is a hierarchical ecclesial community and Archbishop Hepworth is involved, the representatives will be actually delegated to act on the TAC's behalf, and not just be a token TAC person who happens to be a member but represents only him or herself) and Anglican Church members and representatives from the Catholic Church.
In Canada, the groups are the TAC's Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, at least three Anglican priests, one parish and one group that wants to form an ordinariate parish, and a goodly number of former Anglicans who have already become Catholics but want to be in the Ordinariate. There may be more. If you have more details, please put them in the comments.
In the United States, an implementation committee should include people delegated to speak for the Anglican Use parishes; the TAC's Anglican Church of America bishops, priests and lay people under the Patrimony of the Primate who are going into the Ordinariate in the first wave (again delegated by the Primate and actually representing people officially); representatives of the clergy and members of the Episcopal Church who wish to join and Catholic representatives to liaise with Cardinal Wuerl and CDF.
I am sure the Anglican Use folks could quickly tell you who they want to represent them. We in the TAC on both sides of the border can make that decision quickly. It is the folks in the Anglican Church and the Episcopal Church who may have a little more trouble in finding someone among themselves to represent them because they do not have a structure already. They are unlikely to be bringing property with them and must leave their structures behind.
In the United States, you could establish an Ordinariate as quickly as you could separate the Anglican Use parishes from their respective dioceses, link them together under the a corporate structure the Catholic Church might use to create a new diocese and presto! You have an Ordinariate, with property, money, insurance policies, employees all expandable to receive the ACA clergy and people from the Episcopal Church under their corporate and legal umbrella. Maybe someone from the Anglican Use could give me a time frame of how long this might take?
In Canada, the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada is not well-off by any means and we are small, but we have an infrastructure from coast to coast in Canada that could easily be brought in line with both the Canon Law and Civil Law, as Bishop Elliott put it and we would love to expand to include Anglicans who like us long to be Catholic. We have charitable numbers for tax purposes and the ability to license clergy and grant marriage licenses already, just as the Anglican Use parishes do. Why not take what we have as a basis?
In both Australia and Canada our chancellors anticipated the need to make our structure "ordinariate ready" to ensure that we could take our property and our wills and trusts into the Catholic Church. That doesn't mean we're exclusive, just practical! We want the Ordinariate as soon as possible.
So, it's not like, after the "census" is taken, the Roman prelates have to re-invent the wheel. Only in England, where the majority of people coming in are from the Church of England and must leave their existing structures (and the TAC group there very small) is there a need to start from scratch.
Last month I had some communication with someone in the Vatican's diplomatic service who told me England would provide the template for the Ordinariates. But why should England be the template when England's situation is so different from that everywhere else?
So, folks, if you had Cardinal Wuerl's or Archbishop Collins' ear, what would you suggest about establishing an implementation committee?
Here's one more thing I'd add: delegate this to a committee of people who have a stake in the outcome and you'll be surprised at how fast and effortlessly this will come together.
One thing the census will do is perhaps establish the proportional size of the groups. Maybe this will have a bearing on how the governing council of six priests that will advise the pope on the selection of the ordinary will be constituted.
But for the implementation committee, it does not have to be proportional. Do it on the Senate model, each group gets two or three people and let's get on with it!