Decree of Erection

Oddly enough, even with our (almost) exhaustive coverage of the event, I don't think that we ever got around to publishing the actual decree by which the English Ordinariate was canonically erected.  So, for the record, here it is.

* * *

of the Personal Ordinariate
of Our Lady of Walsingham

The supreme law of the Church is the salvation of souls. As such, throughout its history, the Church has always found the pastoral and juridical means to care for the good of the faithful.

With the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, promulgated on 4 November 2009, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, provided for the establishment of Personal ordinariates through which Anglican faithful may enter, even in a corporate manner, into full communion with the Catholic Church. On the same date, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published Complementary Norms relating to such Ordinariates.

In conformity with what is established in Art. I §1 and §2 of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, having received requests from a considerable number of Anglican faithful and having consulted with the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith


the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham within the territory of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales.

1. The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham ipso iure possesses juridic personality and is juridically equivalent to a diocese. It includes those faithful, of every category and state of life, who originally having belonged to the Anglican Communion, are now in full communion with the Catholic Church, or who have received the sacraments of initiation within the jurisdiction of the ordinariate itself or who are received into it because they are part of a family belonging to the Ordinariate.

2. The faithful of the personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham are entrusted to the pastoral care of the Personal Ordinary, who, once named by the Roman Pontiff, possesses all the faculties and is held to all the obligations, specified in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus and the Complementary Norms as well as in those matters determined subsequently by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on request both of the Ordinary, having heard the Governing Council of the Ordinariate, and of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales.

3. The Anglican faithful who wish to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate must manifest this desire in writing. There is to be a programme of catechetical formation for these faithful, lasting for a congruent time, and with content established by the Ordinary in agreement with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith so that the faithful are able to adhere fully to the doctrinal content of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and, therefore, make the profession of faith.

4. For candidates for ordination, who previously were ministers in the Anglican Communion, there is to be a specific programme of theological formation, as well as spiritual and pastoral preparation, prior to ordination in the Catholic Church, according to what will be established by the Ordinary in agreement with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in consultation with the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales.

5. For a cleric not incardinated in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham to assist at a marriage of the faithful belonging to the Ordinariate, he must receive the faculty from the Ordinary or the pastor of the personal parish to which the faithful belong.

6. The Ordinary is a member by right of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales, with deliberative vote in those cases in which this is required in law.

7. A cleric, having come originally from the Anglican Communion, who has already been ordained in the Catholic Church and incardinated in a Diocese, is able to be incardinated in the Ordinariate in accord with the norm of can. 267 CIC.

8. Until the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham may have established its own Tribunal, the judicial cases of its faithful are referred to the Tribunal of the Diocese in which one of the parties has a domicile, while taking into account, however, the different titles of competence established in cann. 1408-1414 and 1673 CIC.

9. The faithful of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham who are, temporarily or permanently, outside the territory of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales, while remaining members of the Ordinariate, are bound by universal law and those particular laws of the territory where they find themselves.

10. If a member of the faithful moves permanently into a place where another Personal Ordinariate has been erected, he is able, on his own request, to be received into it. The new Ordinary is bound to inform the original Personal Ordinariate of the reception. 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. In this case, the Ordinary will ensure that the Diocesan Bishop is informed.

11. The Ordinary, keeping in mind the Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis and the Programme of Priestly Formation of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales, is to prepare a Programme of Priestly Formation for the seminarians of the Ordinariate which must be approved by the Apsotolic See.

12. The Ordinary will ensure that the Statutes of the Governing Council and the Pastoral Council, which are subject to his approval, are drawn up.

13. The location of the principal Church of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham will be determined by the Ordinary in agreement with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in consultation with the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales. Likewise, the Seat of the Ordinariate, where the register referred to in Art. 5 §1 of the Complementary Norms will be kept, will be determined in the same way.

14. The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has as its patron Blessed John Henry Newman.

Everything to the contrary notwithstanding.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 15 January 2011

William Cardinal Levada

+ Luis F. Ladaria, S.J.

Donate to the Ordinariate in England and Wales

The Catholic Bishops' Conference has advised that a Restricted Fund has been established to hold donations towards the formation and support of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in England and Wales, under the auspices of the Catholic Trust for England and Wales (CaTEW).  There may be a facility in the future to make donations by standing order, but for the present, donations can be made by cheque, made out to CaTEW, and sent to:

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
39 Eccleston Square

Donors are asked ensure that a note is enclosed with the cheque indicating that the donation is for the Restricted Fund for the Ordinariate.

Statement of the General Secretary of the CBCEW on the Ordinariate

The following statement has been issued by Fr. Marcus Stock, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.



On or before 15 January 2011, it is expected that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will publish a Decree which will formally establish a ‘Personal Ordinariate’ in England and Wales (from here on referred to as ‘the Ordinariate’) for groups of Anglican faithful and their clergy who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

The establishment of this Ordinariate will be the first fruit of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, issued by Pope Benedict XVI on 4 November 2009. The Constitution and the Complementary Norms published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith provide the essential norms which will enable members of the Ordinariate to preserve within the Catholic Church those elements of Anglican ecclesial prayer, liturgy and pastoral practice (patrimony) that are concordant with Catholic teaching and which have nurtured and nourished their Christian faith and life.

In time, it is expected that further Ordinariates will be established in other parts of the world to meet the desire of those Anglican communities who in a similar way seek to be united in communion with the Successor of St Peter.

As a new structure within the Catholic Church, there will be many ‘frequently asked questions’ about the Ordinariate. Some of these are:

Why did Pope Benedict XVI publish Anglicanorum coetibus?

As the Holy Father stated when he published Anglicanorum coetibus, he was responding to petitions received "repeatedly and insistently" by him from groups of Anglicans wishing "to be received into full communion individually as well as corporately" with the Catholic Church. During his address to the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales at Oscott last September, Pope Benedict was therefore keen to stress that the Apostolic Constitution "should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all."

In this way, the establishment of the Ordinariate is clearly intended to serve the wider and unchanging aim of the full visible unity between the Catholic Church and the members of the Anglican Communion.

Will members of the Ordinariate still be Anglicans?

No. Members of the Ordinariate will be Catholics. Their decision is to leave the Anglican Communion and come into the Catholic Church, in full communion with the Pope.

The central purpose of Anglicanorum coetibus is "to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared". Members of the Ordinariate will bring with them, into full communion with the Catholic Church in all its diversity and richness of liturgical rites and traditions, some aspects their own Anglican patrimony and culture.

It is recognised that the term Anglican patrimony is difficult to define but it would include many of the spiritual writings, prayers, hymnody, and pastoral practices distinctive to the Anglican tradition which have sustained the faith and longing of many Anglican faithful for that very unity for which Christ prayed. The Ordinariate will then bring a mutual enrichment and exchange of gifts, in an authentic and visible form of full communion, between those baptised and nurtured in Anglicanism and the Catholic Church.

Continue reading "Statement of the General Secretary of the CBCEW on the Ordinariate"

Audio and Transcripts from the UK Ordinariate Announcement

Ordinariate Portal has posted links to two audio clips and also transcripts from Friday's press conference announcing the establishment of the Ordinariate for England and Wales.

The clips provide context for many of the comments we have seen quoted in the press and also new information, such as the Archbishop of Westminster joking with Ruth Gledhill that he is "quite comfortable talking to married men with children" and so a married ordinary being a member of the bishops conference would be "no problem."  Bishop Hopes gives more information about the curriculum for clergy preparation as well as more information about clergy support and housing, which he says will be given support from local dioceses beyond the quarter of a million pound fund that has been widely announced.

Bishop Alan Hopes on the Ordinariate:

Q&A Session on the Constitution:

What Does the Future Hold?

As to how clergy in the ordinariate might make ends meet, there have been several useful suggestions in the comments box of my last post; mostly these regard the US situation. Here are some thoughts about the UK (which might nevertheless apply mutatis mutandis to other countries).

It seems to me that in the UK there are quite a lot of clergy considering joining an Ordinariate, but not a correspondingly large number of laity. At least (as has been remarked elsewhere) if the church building could come too, then more would unquestionably consider the change. I suppose this is because clergy naturally expect to move around every few years and do not grow quite so deeply attached to one particular place. Whatever the reason, it is likely that, initially at least, there will be a disproportionate number of clergy to laity. This may change, especially if Ordinariate churches (or even Masses) are set up here and there—many laity are likely to put a toe in the water at least, especially if Father Ivor Chasuble has just been replaced by Mother Rainbow Openness in their beloved parish church.

I do not imagine that it will be easy for the Ordinariates to support a large number of clergy in the manner to which they have become accustomed, though I understand that there are some trusts and other funds which might be persuaded to swim the Tiber. If the Ordinariates manage to grow (which will be very much down to the zeal of the priests, I suspect), then there is no reason why they should not be self-supporting in a few years.

Here are some other suggestions in the meantime:

I take it that the movers and shakers in the UK have already spoken to the St Barnabas Society, who were set up as the Converts’ Aid Society many years ago, and have provided income and accommodation for clergy who convert to Roman Catholicism, as well as assistance in finding suitable employment if this be thought necessary. I should have thought that the Society would be very amenable to helping those joining an Ordinariate, as they help those joining ordinary dioceses.

Once an Ordinariate is properly canonically erected and can incardinate priests to itself, there is no reason why it should not lease clergy to ordinary dioceses under a special arrangement. Such priests could be accommodated in an empty presbytery (=rectory) —most dioceses have several—and be supported financially by the diocese for whom they work. They would be appointed at the behest of the local bishop, with the proviso that they would be released to celebrate Mass according to the Anglo-Catholic form as and when this proved possible. This would enable priests to set up Anglo-Catholic communities here and there; once these were strong enough, and capable of supporting a full-time priest, they might have one appointed, ideally the man who set them up in the first place. Meanwhile, an Ordinariate priest, working in a normal diocese, could be very valuable indeed. In this scenario, everyone benefits. At a weekend, for instance, an Ordinariate priest might offer Mass in the Roman Rite on Saturday evening and early on Sunday. Late Sunday morning, he might offer Mass in the Anglo-Catholic rite either in his own place, or in another, and if thought desireable, Evensong. During the week, he would divide his attention between the two communities, proportionately.

There are many insititutions that are crying out for priest chaplains. Schools are one example: not far from here is the largest faith school in Europe. Until a few years ago it always had a full-time priest chaplain. Now it has a layman, who tries to persuade increasingly-pressed priests to come in to celebrate Mass for classes and other groups, to hear confessions and do the other things needful. This is a full-time salaried post, and I am sure that priests would be welcomed to serve such posts in most Catholic secondary schools; smaller schools might club together to provide a job between them. This would be something for the Ordinary’s Curia to negotiate and set up.

The same applies to hospitals and hospices. Local hospital trusts like to employ Catholic chaplains, and the work is quite a burden on local parish clergy which most would be very glad to shed. Everyone would be happy if this were lifted by the appointment of an Ordinariate priest.

And there are prisons. Again, these need chaplains; here the fields are white with the harvest.

None of these institutional jobs would prevent a priest also ministering to a gathered Anglo-Catholic community, at least at weekends.

But what needs to happen soon is for there to be a skeleton staff established, who can begin to negotiate these things. I mean that (in my opinion) some senior clergy who have already made their decisions need to declare for the Ordinariate and establish themselves with Rome definitively, taking whatever steps are deemed necessary for them to begin to act on behalf of the Ordinariate. It is now time for the first public jumps to the other side of the bank (to my side, I mean), to stretch out hands to help others. Practical negotiations can then be set in train; once there is an Ordinary and at least an interim Curia, a real juridical body that can make authoritative decisions, then everyone has a sense of direction, and real decisions can be made. I am aware that many want to wait and see what Synod come up with next month, but there must be at least a substantial group of you who think as Bishop Barnes does and can get on with it. And if you wait for Rome or the English and Welsh Bishops’ Conference to make the first move, then you will probably grow moss first. The ball is in your court. And, crucially, please remember that nothing (really nothing) gets done in Rome from mid-July until September!

But then I expect you know all this anyway, and perhaps it is all in hand… Please forgive my impertinence, and put it down to enthusiasm.

Extraordinary (Form) Episcopal Shenanigans

The bishop of Aberdeen has moved to block the celebration of Mass in the Extraordinary Form in an historic Orkney Islands cathedral.  The Rt. Rev. Peter Moran has told Una Voce Scotland that he does not approve of the group's choice of two priests from the traditionalist community of Papa Stronsay (even though the group has been reconciled with the Holy See) saying that "they have as yet only limited faculties to celebrate Mass in this diocese."  Amazingly, the venue in question, St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, is now in the hands of the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland; it's not even a Catholic church!  In violation of the Holy Father's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the bishop also claims that his permission is necessary for any public celebration of the usus antiquior.  As Fr. Z points out, there may be some legitimate concerns about (and a proper role for episcopal oversight in) the celebration of Holy Mass in a (stolen) Protestant church, but the bishop grossly mischaracterizes his authority under Summorum Pontificum, and such attempts at resisting the Holy Father's will as expressed in the motu proprio have become a pattern with the Scottish bishops.  I wonder with Fr. Z: what harm could this Mass have possibly done?  The bishop kindly celebrated Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer community when they were reconciled; is the public celebration of the rite somehow a greater threat?  Even were he to have had legitimate reservations about the two traditionalist priests, why could Bishop Moran himself not have supplied another celebrant for the Mass?

From Rorate Caeli we learn of unrest in the parish of St. Anthony of Padua in San Antonio, Florida (which is in the Tampa Bay area).  A group of dissidents is upset that the pastor, Fr. Edwin Palka, in a weekly schedule of eleven eucharistic celebrations, has the audacity, in accordance with the Holy Father's will, to offer just two Masses in the Extraordinary Form, one on Sunday morning and another during the week.  The malcontents have managed to arrange a meeting with the Bishop of St. Petersburg, Robert Lynch, who appears to be no friend of tradition.  In 2000, Bishop Lynch issued guidelines which all but forbade the practice of Eucharistic Adoration outside of Holy Mass in the diocese.  Even more appallingly, Bishop Lynch was, at least morally, an accomplice in the murder of Terri Schiavo, and subsequently gave his permission for her husband (the murderer) to marry, in a diocesan church, the woman with whom he had an adulterous relationship.  I wonder if traditionalists find it so easy to get an audience with the bishop?  Somehow I think not.

Perhaps both of these matters will yet be resolved in favor of the lawful rights of the priests and Christian faithful involved.  God willing they will be.  I cite these two cases simply because they are presently in the news and I am familiar with the background of each.  We should pray for everyone involved.

Occasionally, Roman Catholic commenters here on The Anglo-Catholic express their distress over the suspicion with which, they perceive, many Anglicans regard some Catholic bishops.  We have even been accused of being less than charitable for be so bold as to question the motivations of those prelates who flagrantly disregard the legitimate aspirations of their people and the teaching of the Holy Father and the Magisterium.  How dare you traditionalist Anglicans — who, after all, are petitioning the Holy See for an extraordinary accommodation and are lucky that the Roman authorities deign to give you the time of day — challenge these well-meaning prelates!  Where do you get off bringing this strife and rancor into the Catholic Church?  You can't possibly understand what it means to be Catholic.  Show some humility!

Perhaps such episodes as these illustrate why some Catholic-minded Anglicans are reluctant to trust that all Roman Catholic bishops will have our best interests at heart.  After all, if Catholic bishops show such disregard for the lawful — and truly awesome and salutary — expressions of their own tradition, why should we believe that they will be respectful of ours?

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, through its spokesmen, has expressed concern that a future personal ordinariate might become a sectarian enclave not fully integrated into the life of the larger Catholic Church in that country.  Certainly the historic relationship between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Establishment presents some real challenges that must be overcome, but, I wonder: when English Catholic bishops receive requests from the faithful that Anglican Use services be celebrated in a diocesan church, how willing will they be to grant permission?  Will they encourage their priests to share worship spaces with ordinariate communities?  Will they themselves recognize the Anglican Patrimony as endorsed by Anglicanorum Coetibus as a legitimate and honored expression of the Catholic Faith?  In the United States, will diocesan bishops who, for decades, refused to sanction the establishment of Anglican Use/Pastoral Provision communities in their territories now, with fond solicitude, welcome and care for their Anglican petitioners?  This remains to be seen!

We Anglicans watch the struggles of Roman Catholic traditionalists with concern, not because our interests are identical to theirs, though there is certainly some overlap, but because, like the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus was necessitated by the failure of many Catholic bishops, over a long period of time, to respond with generosity and charity to the pleas of estranged groups of the Christian faithful.  As we have explored in previous posts, the Apostolic Constitution creates for us "a church within a Church," protecting our legitimate interests from local diocesan bishops who might not always appreciate them.  But we have no desire to turn inward or to remain confined to an Anglican ghetto.  Like the adherents of the older form of the Roman Rite, we merely seek our rightful place in the life of the Catholic Church.  We pray that when we do enter into the full communion of the Church, we will not find ourselves asking with the Holy Father, "Why are the […] bishops so unapostolic?"

An Embarrassment to the Pope? Hardly!

In his most recent post, Fr. Phillips reproduced a report from The Telegraph on last week's meeting of three of the PEVs with CDF officials in Rome to discuss the implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus.  What stood out to me in the article was the repeated liberal line that such talks between traditional Anglican groups and the the Holy See will prove an "embarrassment" to the Holy Father.

The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, was unaware of the summit, which is likely to prove embarrassing to the Catholic Church ahead of the Pope’s visit to Britain later this year as it will rekindle fears that it is trying to poach Anglican clergy.

Who, either in the Catholic Church or in the Church of England, seriously believes that the Holy Father — much less a secret cabal in "the most powerful of the Vatican’s departments" — is trying to surreptitiously "poach" Anglican clergy?  Though the Archbishop of Canterbury feigned surprise at the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution back in October of last year, acting as if he had no idea that Anglo-Catholics might be exploring their options with Rome, it has been clearly established that +Rowan was quite aware of the developing dialogue between Forward in Faith and the Vatican authorities all along.  Even were the Church of England kept totally in the dark about such happenings, what should they care about a group of backward traditionalists they'd already cast into the outer darkness?

Reminiscent of the indignant reports that both the Anglican and English Roman Catholic bishops were kept in the dark about Anglicanorum Coetibus until the last minute — and that Lambeth Palace was snubbed by Rome — again we are informed of the irregularity that the Archbishop of Westminster was not informed of the "clandestine" meeting.  Well… that's sort of… the whole point.  And is it any wonder?

One source close to last week’s discussions said that the Anglican bishops raised concerns with the Vatican officials that there is opposition to them defecting from Catholic bishops in England.

Since the announcement of the Apostolic Constitution, the liberal ascendency in the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has been working feverishly to contain the damage.  One should never lose sight of the fact that the single greatest contributing factor to the policy embodied in Anglicanorum Coetibus was the utter unwillingness of the vast majority of Catholic bishops, both in England and the United States, to respond pastorally and generously to the repeated, and increasingly desperate, pleas of Catholic-minded Anglicans.  Despite all of their media spin and misdirection, the liberal English Catholic bishops know full well that the Apostolic Constitution envisages a process that largely bypasses the local bishops, the episcopal conferences, and yes, even the Archbishop of Westminster!  Anglican groups are to apply directly to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for the provision of a personal ordinariate, and the arrangements having been made largely between these two parties themselves, the local authorities will be duly consulted such they may assist, insofar as may be necessary, in the implementation of the scheme.

It's not only the liberal Catholic bishops who are spreading this nonsense.  Their ecumenical confederates in the Established Church are marching in lockstep.

A leading Anglican cleric said: “This will seriously embarrass the Pope.

“It’s a plot within the Vatican that they are desperate to keep quiet until they are ready to go public.

“Many will see this as proof that the Catholic Church is intent on poaching clergy from the Church of England despite its reassurances to the contrary.”

Do they really believe that this rubbish is going to intimidate the Holy Father or the CDF?  "Holy Father, you really oughtn't do this thing… it's just going to be a huge embarrassment, you know!  Really, don't you think you should reconsider?"

While both the CDF and the PEVs have an interest in conducting their talks in private (without the unnecessary audit of liberal opponents in the English hierarchy or the Roman Curia), the process now unfolding is hardly secret in its essentials.  The PEVs represent a constituency, dispossessed by a Church of England seemingly hellbent on its own destruction, which, in conjunction with other faithful Anglican groups, has approached the Holy See for a pastoral provision.  Despite repeated warnings (and even an ultimatum delivered by the Vatican's chief ecumenist), a genuine and productive ecumenical dialogue spanning decades seems to have been irrevocably abandoned by the modernist establishment of the Church of England.  With the Anglican Church having contemptuously rejected the admonitions of the See of Peter, and in its innovations and willful corruptions forsaken the Faith and Order of the "Catholic and Orthodox Churches of the first millennium," the Holy See has finally turned to these "continuing" coetus Anglicanorum as the last hope for reintegrating the glories of the Anglican Patrimony into the Universal Church.  Rome being perhaps overly-sensitive to supposed ecumenical priorities and cries of "poaching" in the past, the Holy Father now moves boldly — and openly — to draw into the fold a faithful remnant despised of their own.

In the end, it is not the Holy Father who will be embarrassed by the defection of priests and laity from the Church of England (however few or many there may be).  It is the faithless, modernist establishment — of both the "unapostolic" bishops of the English Catholic hierarchy and their more brazen counterparts in the Protestant Church — who will be put to shame.

Official UK Papal Visit Web Site

The Catholic Church in England and Wales has launched an official web site for the upcoming papal visit to the United Kingdom.  Pope Benedict XVI will visit England and Scotland on a four-day state visit from 16-19 September 2010.


Pope Benedict will be received at the Palace of Holyroodhouse by Her Majesty The Queen.  He will celebrate a public Mass in Glasgow.


His Holiness will also visit the West Midlands to beatify the nineteenth century theologian and educationalist Cardinal John Henry Newman at a public mass in Coventry.


His Holiness will give a major speech to British civil society at Westminster Hall.  He will be present at a prayer vigil.  There will be an event focusing on education.  Relations between the Christian Churches will be a theme of the visit as will the relations between the major faiths.  The Holy Father will visit the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace.  Pope Benedict will pray with other Church leaders at Westminster Abbey.

Myth #5: Anglican Groups Must Apply to the Local Episcopal Conference for a Personal Ordinariate

In her survey of media responses to the ACCC's formal request to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for the implementation of a personal ordinariate in Canada, Deborah quoted a recent article by Austen Ivereigh in the liberal Jesuit publication America.  The disinformation contained in this piece has prompted me to return to our series of posts debunking the myths surrounding the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.  I have reproduced the America article in full below.  My emphases and comments.

* * *

Romeward Anglicans: are local bishops being bypassed?

Executive Summary: Yes.

POSTED AT: 2010-03-16 06:20:33.0

The so-called Anglican Catholic Church in Canada (ACCC), which has about 45 parishes, has written to Rome to apply for an ordinariate. Its three active bishops propose setting up a governing council to suggest a terna from which the Pope can select the Canadian ordinariate's first ordinary or canonical head.

The wording and the method of proceeding proposed in the letter suggest that Rome has told them what to write. So that appears to be how it works: Rome appoints a governing council which then advises the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) whom to appoint as ordinary.

Do you get the sense that the author is likely going to be opposed to any "method of proceeding" that is determined by "Rome"?  Yeah, me too.

But hang on. Where does the national bishops' conference fit into this?

I thought that he just answered this question!  It doesn't.

When the ordinariate scheme was announced in London and Rome last year, the understanding was clearly that Anglicans seeking an ordinariate would apply to the local bishops' conference, who would then (presumably) get the go-ahead from Rome. This is not just a procedural matter. Negotiations over what is permissible and what is not in the liturgies of the ordinariates are be carried out with the bishops' conference, not with Rome. Ecclesiologically, that makes sense: the ordinariates, after all, will be part of the local Church.

Who, exactly, had this clear understanding of the initial — and evidently decisive — role of the local episcopal conference?  Did Mr. Ivereigh himself have this understanding? …because the previous report to which he links, a story on the October 20, 2009 joint press conference of the Archbishops of Westminster and Canterbury, does not make such a claim!

Anglicanorum Coetibus itself is very clear:

I. §1 Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church are erected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith within the confines of the territorial boundaries of a particular Conference of Bishops in consultation with that same Conference.

It is the CDF itself that will erect a personal ordinariate.  This discastery will consult with the local bishops' conference as a matter of course, but the role of the Holy Office will be decisive.

And though the full text of Cardinal Levada's formal response to the TAC bishops who petitioned the Holy See in October 2007 has not been publicly released, I am able to confirm that the Cardinal's clear instructions were that all applications for personal ordinariates are to be directed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith alone.  Indeed, throughout this entire process, the TAC bishops have been assured by Rome that they would be dealing with the CDF directly.

And despite the author's warped view of the constitution of the Catholic Church, yes, the involvement of the national episcopal conference will be largely a procedural matter.  The bishops' conference does not constitute the "local Church" in any way, shape, or form.  The diocese is the local — the particular — Church, and while the episcopal conference "is to provide for the common good of the particular Churches of a territory through the collaboration of the sacred pastors to whose care they are entrusted (Apostolos Suos, 17)," it cannot substitute for the authority which the diocesan bishops individually possess.  It does not participate in the teaching authority of the college of bishops.  And it is certainly not a counterbalance to the authority of the Holy See.  The author's ecclesiology is nothing more than a product of modernist wishful thinking!  Ditto for "what is permissible and what is not in the liturgies of the ordinariates."  Even were the episcopal conferences to be involved in framing Anglican liturgical texts (which they will not be), their determinations would still be subject to the recognitio of the Holy See.

Far from there being a clear understanding that the national episcopal conferences would direct the process, faced with an Apostolic Constitution clearly designed to bypass the unnecessary obstacles to unity that history led the Holy See to expect from them, progressive/modernist bishops and their surrogates have been waging a campaign to subvert the manifest will of the Holy Father.

In a previous post reporting how a traditionalist Church of England bishop had been trying to circumvent the local Catholic hierarchy, I quoted Mgr Andrew Faley, the priest responsible for the negotiations on behalf of the bishops' conference of England and Wales. "The authority of the Church in working this out rests with the bishops' conferences and not with the CDF", he clarified.

Firstly, Msgr. Faley is not "responsible for the negotiations on behalf of the bishops' conference of England and Wales"; he is merely a spokesman for the CBCEW (which has been so bold as to appoint several bishops "responsible for negotiations").  Secondly, whatever the context of the provided quotation, Msgr. Faley is hardly a reliable source, having been for some time quite obviously engaged in a campaign of disinformation meant to lower expectations and contain the effects of the Apostolic Constitution.

Hence Australia, where Peter Elliot, a Melbourne auxiliary, has been appointed by the Australian bishops' conference to negotiate with Anglican traditionalists there over the terms of the ordinariate which the Traditional Anglican Communion has applied for.

Hence what?  The Australian bishops — who had evidently been receiving inquiries from Anglican groups — simply designated Bishop Elliott as a point of contact "to assist those who have approached individual bishops."  Their statement of November 27, 2009 does not suggest that any application should be made to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.  Bishop Elliot himself has not suggested that application should be made to any other entity besides the CDF.

But is this true of Canada? I've searched the Canadian bishops' conference website in vain for a statement on any application to the bishops by the ACCC. But there's nothing.

Perhaps the bishops there are more respectful of the Holy Father and his will as expressed in Anglicanorum Coetibus?

Perhaps I'm missing something.

Yes, Mr. Ivereigh, it's called the truth.