The BBC on the Ordinariate

The BBC has a long piece up by religion correspondent, Robert Pigott.  The majority of the article is a summary of information well-known to readers here, but there is an interesting section in the piece contrasting the outlook of the newly-ordained Fr. Newton, with that of Fr. David Houlding, Master of the SSC and member of the Catholic Group in Synod, who insists that conversion is premature.

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Premature ordination

Many traditionalists on the Catholic wing of Anglicanism oppose their colleagues' conversion, warning that it will weaken the Church of England as a broad Church able to balance its Protestant and Catholic traditions.

Prebendary David Houlding belongs to the Catholic Group on the Church of England Synod, and regards the ordination with sadness and anger.

His anger is directed partly at his own Church, but he believes converting to Catholicism is premature.

"The Church of England hasn't finally settled what sort of provision [to operate outside the supervision of women bishops] we are going to get," he said.

"There's more work to do, we haven't reached a satisfactory conclusion, there's no certainty that the legislation will go through as it stands."

Mr Houlding regards the Church of England as the continuing "Catholic" Church in England, albeit one reformed after the break with Rome 450 years ago.

He fears that a long-maintained balance will be lost, not just between its Catholic and Protestant wings, but between its liberal and traditionalist elements.

In short he, and others like him, worry that it's becoming a more liberal and more Protestant Church, less able to fulfil its traditional role in serving the whole theological and social spectrum in England.

Mr Newton's view is not dissimilar, even if he has come to different conclusions about how to respond to it.

"I think in recent years we have gone much towards a Protestant understanding of the Church…" he said.

"I think there are questions as to whether it can really claim to be part of the one holy and apostolic Church. It seems to have… made changes to holy orders (ordaining women clergy) that the rest of the (universal) Church has advised us not to make.

"I think a Catholic understanding is no longer credible in the Church of England."

Mr Newton insists that his conversion to Catholicism and membership of the Ordinariate is not solely to do with the ordination of women, but about maintaining "unity" at a time when he sees the Church of England departing from tradition.

'Marginalised' Catholics

More ordinations of former Anglican clergy as Catholic priests are due to take place just before Easter.

There are few signs of a mass exodus of Anglicans at the moment, but Mr Houlding, for one, fears that Pope Benedict has opened a door in the Church of England, that will in perpetuity encourage unhappy traditionalists to leave rather than fight their corner.

But Mr Newton questions how far the "marginalised" Catholic wing of the Church can any more "dictate to a larger group what is right for them".

"We've felt for some time that Anglo Catholics and Evangelicals (some of whom also oppose women bishops) have been holding the Church back from what it wants to do.

"You can't have a Church that believes in women bishops and doesn't believe in women bishops."

Supporters of the Church of England's status as the established, official state Church, see its long balancing act between opposing factions as vital to its survival in its present form, and the benefit they believe that brings to society at large.

There will be many who wonder anxiously how far the ordinations at Westminster Cathedral could undermine it.

Read the entire article.>>>

Bishop Mercer on the Ordinariate and His Own Future

At Ordinariate Portal, which is doing a marvelous job tracking the news in the UK, I ran across this ENI story with extensive quotes from Bishop Robert Mercer, whose career has spanned almost as many continents as decades.  Readers of The Anglo-Catholic have frequently asked after Bishop Mercer.  In this interview, he gives some answers about his own plans for the future.

However, Robert Mercer, the former Bishop of Matabeleland (Zimbabwe) and former bishop of the Anglican Catholic Church in Canada, said he sees the pope's move as a step toward reconciliation.

"I’m a great enthusiast for what is going to happen on Saturday … Off and on over 400 years, the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches have talked in a pretty desultory way about reconciliation. Now it is happening. I will cross to Rome as soon as I hear from the Vatican. No one can say how many Anglicans will do likewise but this is the start," Mercer told ENInews in an interview.

Read the entire article.>>>

Allen Hall Ordinations Round-Up

The stories continue to come in from yesterday's ordinations to the diaconate at Allen Hall. The video above comes via Fr. James Bradley of Sevenoaks, St. John the Baptist, whose media contributions over the last year have been invaluable.

Fr. Bradley also has a set of photos from yesterday on Flickr.

Anna Arco has this piece recounting the day's events at the Catholic Herald.

At Ordinariate Portal, there are now four eyewitness accounts of yesterday's events:

Account I

Account II

Account III

Account IV

May God bless Fathers Broadhurst, Burnham, and Newton during their profoundly transitional diaconate.  More news as it comes…

The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

Our Lady of Walsingham. (Photo: Lawrence Lew, OP)

I now see multiple reports online that the Ordinariate in the UK will be placed under the patronage of Our Lady of Walsingham.

It looks as if there must have been some wrench in the choreography of releasing the decree at the same time as the first ordinations and that one or more outlet didn't get the word and has released uncorrected stories or failed to make all of the cuts and edits that were needed.  Another contributor here posted the story earlier and we pulled it when the story it referred to was pulled, but clearly the story is out there now.  Anna Arco has tweeted it and, at this point, any reporter with access to Google, which is fairly common in the year 2011, will soon be running with it.

I am sorry for those who were trying to have a seamless and smooth launch, but that's the way of these things in the electronic age.  Someone wrote somewhere recently that an Anglo-Catholic secret is something that you only tell to one person at a time.  It seems that part of the patrimony has made it into the Ordinariate in the first wave.  Or, perhaps, the Ordinariate is being christened with the hallowed Vatican tradition of the press snafu so that there can be no doubt as to its being in full communion with the Catholic Church.

I have shilled shamelessly for Our Lady of Walsingham to be the patroness of the Ordinariates (see here) and have asked her intercession for the Holy Father’s project constantly since last October, so I do hope the Internet reports are true.  A Cistercian has to stick up for Our Lady, after all.

Tonight at Compline, I will be offering the Salve Regina with extra gusto in thanksgiving.

Whatever the circumstances of its unveiling, we thank you, Holy Father.

Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix.
Nostras deprecationesne despicias in necessitatibus,
sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper,
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta. Amen.

We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God;
despise not our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

First News of the Ordinations in the UK

The Catholic League is carrying the following piece:

We warmly congratulate the Revd John Broadhurst, the Revd Andrew Burnham and the Revd Keith Newton on their ordination to serve in the sacred order of deacons in the Catholic Church today, 13 January 2011, at Allen Hall. The three who will form the founding clergy of the Ordinariate, were presented for ordination to Bishop Alan Hopes by Mgr Seamus O'Boyle, Vicar General of the Diocese of Westminster, with the insertion of the words 'with the approval of the Holy See.'

The prayer created by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship giving thanks for previous ordained Anglican ministry used in the past by Cardinal Hume was not employed.

Because the Ordinariate is not yet formally announced, the deacons are not 'acephalous clerics' nor of the diocese of Westminster. They were ordained under the direct authority of the Pope, the Archbishop of Westminster through Bishop Hopes acting on his behalf.

At the end of the Mass, the Bishop offered a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing over Mrs Broadhurst, Mrs Burnham and Mrs Newton.

The decree of erection, the naming of the patron, and, presumably, the naming of the Ordinary have to come by Saturday.

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us!

First Issue of The Portal Online

The first issue of The Portal, the UK's new magazine billing itself as "an independent review in the service of the Ordinariate," is now available online.

The production values are high and the first selection of articles look to be a good read.  Our congratulations here go out to the editorial board, advisers, and contributors on a successful launch.

(There's nothing like a good magazine to help pass the time when you are waiting for news from the delivery room.)

A Pastoral Prayer for the Founding of the First Ordinariate

St. Aelred of Rievaulx, Abbot and Confessor

Today is the feast of St. Aelred of Rievaulx, probably the best know Cistercian saint of Britain after St. Thomas of Canterbury.  Aelred is best known today for his work on charity, friendship, and love, but in his own day was probably better known as a preacher, administrator, and historian who wrote, among other things, the Genealogy of the Kings of the English.

I had forgotten it was his feast until the reading of the Martyrology last night at Compline and then had the nagging sense that there was something in his writings that spoke to the founding of the first Ordinariate.  After Compline, I went down to the library and began pulling all of the Aelred volumes from the Cistercian Fathers series.  Thankfully, I found what I was looking for rather quickly, which turned out to be St. Aelred’s Pastoral Prayer, in which he as abbot prays for himself and for those who are in his care.

The excerpts below from the Pastoral Prayer make an unusually apt set of supplications for the beginning of the Ordinariate in the UK and those that will follow after.

Sweet Lord, I pray you, is not this your family,
your own peculiar people, that has been led by you
out of the second Egypt, and by you has been
created and redeemed?
And lastly, you have gathered them together
out of all parts, and made them live together
in a house where all men follow a common way of life.

*  *  *

Hear me, therefore, hear me, 0 Lord my God,
and let your eyes be open on them day and night.
Spread your wings, most loving Lord and shield them
stretch forth your holy right hand, Lord, and bless them;
and pour into their hearts your Holy Spirit,
that he may keep them in unity of spirit and the bond of
chaste in their bodies, lowly in their minds.
May he be there to help them when they pray,
and fill them with the unction and the riches of your

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May the same loving Comforter, when they are being
come swiftly to their aid;
and may he heIp their weakness
in all the straits and troubles of this life.
By the same Spirit make them, lord, to be,
within themselves, with one another, and towards
peaceable and equable and kind,
obedient, servicable, helpful, to each other.
May they be fervent in spirit, rejoicing in hope,
enduring steadfastly
through poverty and fasting, toils and vigils,
silence and repose.
Drive far from them, O Lord, the spirit
of pride and of vain glory,
of envy and of gloom, of weariness and slander,
of distrust and despair,
of fornication and uncleanness,
of discord and presumption.
Be in their midst, according to your faithful promise.
And, since you know what each of them needs,
I pray you, strengthen what is weak in them.
spurn not their frailty, heal that which is diseased,
give joy for sorrow, kindle what is lukewarm,
establish what is insecure in them, that each of them may
know he does not lack your grace in any of his trials and

*  *  *

I, for my part, commit them
into your holy hands and loving providence.
May no one snatch them from your hand,
nor from your servant's, unto whom you have committed
May they persevere with gladness in their holy purpose,
unto the attainment of everlasting life
with you, our most sweet Lord, their Helper always,
who live and reign to ages of ages. Amen.

(These excerpts are from the translation of R. Penelope Lawson, CSMV, that appeared in The Works of Aelred of Rievaulx, Volume One published by Cistercian Publications as The Cistercian Fathers Series:  Number Two, 1971.)

Fr. Stock of CBCEW speaks to America about the Ordinariate in the UK

Fr. Marcus Stock, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has given an interview to America's Austen Ivereigh about this morning's Bishops' Conference statement on the Ordinariate in the UK:

Following this morning's publication by the bishops of England and Wales of a detailed Q&A about the forthcoming Ordinariate – see previous post — I sat down with the bishops' conference secretary-general, Fr Marcus Stock (pictured here with Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster) for a discussion of some of the issues.

I began by asking Fr Marcus if he saw the Ordinariate of England and Wales as a model for future ordinariates elsewhere in the English-speaking world.

It’s certainly the case that perhaps many of the practical issues that they have faced here will help future ordinariates abroad, but because local situations vary so much in terms of ownership of buildings, trusts, etc. — the set-up of the Anglican Church is very different here from Canada or Australia – it always has to be adapted. It’s not an off-the-shelf model.

Will the name of the Ordinary be announced at the same time as the decree erecting the Ordinariate?

We hope it will.

Continue reading>>>

Archbishop Nichols of Westminster on the Ordinations and the Ordinariate

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has released the following statement on the upcoming ordinations and the launch of the first Ordinariate.

On Saturday 15 January 2011, it will be my privilege to ordain John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton to priesthood in the Catholic Church. This ceremony will take place in Westminster Cathedral.

On or before this date, I expect the Holy See to announce the establishment of the first Ordinariate for groups of former Anglicans and their clergy who seek full communion in the Catholic Church. The three men ordained on Saturday will be the first priests of this Ordinariate.

This is a unique moment and the Catholic community in England and Wales is privileged to be playing its part in this historic development in the life of the Universal Church.

We offer a warm welcome to these three former bishops of the Church of England. We welcome those who wish to join them in full communion with the Pope in the visible unity of the Catholic Church. We recognise the journey they are making with its painful departures and its uncertainties. We salute their depth of searching prayer and the desire which leads them to seek to live within the community of the Catholic Church under the ministry of the Bishop of Rome. This is the faith we share.

We are deeply grateful for the depth of the relationship which exists here between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. This firm, positive and on-going relationship is the context for Saturday’s important initiative. We are grateful, too, for the sensitive leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He graciously acknowledges the integrity of those seeking to join the Ordinariate and has assured them of his prayers. This is the noble spirit of true ecumenism between the followers of Christ.

Pope Benedict has made clear his own intentions: that the Ordinariate can serve the wider cause of visible unity between our two churches by demonstrating in practice the extent to which we have so much to give to each other in our common service of the Lord. With this in mind he describes this step as ‘a prophetic gesture.’

With great trust in the Lord, we look forward to Saturday, to the new phase of Church life it brings and we ask God’s blessing on its future development.

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"