Rorate Caeli
NOTE OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
ABOUT PERSONAL ORDINARIATES FOR ANGLICANS
ENTERING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

With the preparation of an Apostolic Constitution, the Catholic Church is responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion.

In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. Under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution, pastoral oversight and guidance will be provided for groups of former Anglicans through a Personal Ordinariate, whose Ordinary will usually be appointed from among former Anglican clergy.

The forthcoming Apostolic Constitution provides a reasonable and even necessary response to a world-wide phenomenon, by offering a single canonical model for the universal Church which is adaptable to various local situations and equitable to former Anglicans in its universal application. It provides for the ordination as Catholic priests of married former Anglican clergy. Historical and ecumenical reasons preclude the ordination of married men as bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The Constitution therefore stipulates that the Ordinary can be either a priest or an unmarried bishop. The seminarians in the Ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, though the Ordinariate may establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony. In this way, the Apostolic Constitution seeks to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be integrated into the Catholic Church.

Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which has prepared this provision, said: "We have been trying to meet the requests for full communion that have come to us from Anglicans in different parts of the world in recent years in a uniform and equitable way. With this proposal the Church wants to respond to the legitimate aspirations of these Anglican groups for full and visible unity with the Bishop of Rome, successor of St. Peter."

These Personal Ordinariates will be formed, as needed, in consultation with local Conferences of Bishops, and their structure will be similar in some ways to that of the Military Ordinariates which have been established in most countries to provide pastoral care for the members of the armed forces and their dependents throughout the world. "Those Anglicans who have approached the Holy See have made clear their desire for full, visible unity in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. At the same time, they have told us of the importance of their Anglican traditions of spirituality and worship for their faith journey," Cardinal Levada said.

The provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church, particularly through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. "The initiative has come from a number of different groups of Anglicans," Cardinal Levada went on to say: "They have declared that they share the common Catholic faith as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and accept the Petrine ministry as something Christ willed for the Church. For them, the time has come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion."

According to Levada: "It is the hope of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that the Anglican clergy and faithful who desire union with the Catholic Church will find in this canonical structure the opportunity to preserve those Anglican traditions precious to them and consistent with the Catholic faith. Insofar as these traditions express in a distinctive way the faith that is held in common, they are a gift to be shared in the wider Church. The unity of the Church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows. Moreover, the many diverse traditions present in the Catholic Church today are all rooted in the principle articulated by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: ‘There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (4:5). Our communion is therefore strengthened by such legitimate diversity, and so we are happy that these men and women bring with them their particular contributions to our common life of faith."

Background information

Since the sixteenth century, when King Henry VIII declared the Church in England independent of Papal Authority, the Church of England has created its own doctrinal confessions, liturgical books, and pastoral practices, often incorporating ideas from the Reformation on the European continent. The expansion of the British Empire, together with Anglican missionary work, eventually gave rise to a world-wide Anglican Communion.

Throughout the more than 450 years of its history the question of the reunification of Anglicans and Catholics has never been far from mind. In the mid-nineteenth century the Oxford Movement (in England) saw a rekindling of interest in the Catholic aspects of Anglicanism. In the early twentieth century Cardinal Mercier of Belgium entered into well publicized conversations with Anglicans to explore the possibility of union with the Catholic Church under the banner of an Anglicanism "reunited but not absorbed".

At the Second Vatican Council hope for union was further nourished when the Decree on Ecumenism (n. 13), referring to communions separated from the Catholic Church at the time of the Reformation, stated that: "Among those in which Catholic traditions and institutions in part continue to exist, the Anglican Communion occupies a special place."

Since the Council, Anglican-Roman Catholic relations have created a much improved climate of mutual understanding and cooperation. The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) produced a series of doctrinal statements over the years in the hope of creating the basis for full and visible unity. For many in both communions, the ARCIC statements provided a vehicle in which a common expression of faith could be recognized. It is in this framework that this new provision should be seen.

In the years since the Council, some Anglicans have abandoned the tradition of conferring Holy Orders only on men by calling women to the priesthood and the episcopacy. More recently, some segments of the Anglican Communion have departed from the common biblical teaching on human sexuality—already clearly stated in the ARCIC document "Life in Christ"—by the ordination of openly homosexual clergy and the blessing of homosexual partnerships. At the same time, as the Anglican Communion faces these new and difficult challenges, the Catholic Church remains fully committed to continuing ecumenical engagement with the Anglican Communion, particularly through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

In the meantime, many individual Anglicans have entered into full communion with the Catholic Church. Sometimes there have been groups of Anglicans who have entered while preserving some "corporate" structure. Examples of this include, the Anglican diocese of Amritsar in India, and some individual parishes in the United States which maintained an Anglican identity when entering the Catholic Church under a "pastoral provision" adopted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope John Paul II in 1982. In these cases, the Catholic Church has frequently dispensed from the requirement of celibacy to allow those married Anglican clergy who desire to continue ministerial service as Catholic priests to be ordained in the Catholic Church.

In the light of these developments, the Personal Ordinariates established by the Apostolic Constitution can be seen as another step toward the realization the aspiration for full, visible union in the Church of Christ, one of the principal goals of the ecumenical movement.


____________________________________



JOINT STATEMENT
BY THE ARCHBISHOP OF WESTMINSTER
AND THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

Today’s announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church.

Pope Benedict XVI has approved, within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.

The announcement of this Apostolic Constitution brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution.

The Apostolic Constitution is further recognition of the substantial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality between the Catholic Church and the Anglican tradition. Without the dialogues of the past forty years, this recognition would not have been possible, nor would hopes for full visible unity have been nurtured. In this sense, this Apostolic Constitution is one consequence of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

The on-going official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion provides the basis for our continuing cooperation. The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) agreements make clear the path we will follow together.

With God’s grace and prayer we are determined that our on-going mutual commitment and consultation on these and other matters should continue to be strengthened. Locally, in the spirit of IARCCUM, we look forward to building on the pattern of shared meetings between the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Church of England’s House of Bishops with a focus on our common mission. Joint days of reflection and prayer were begun in Leeds in 2006 and continued in Lambeth in 2008, and further meetings are in preparation. This close cooperation will continue as we grow together in unity and mission, in witness to the Gospel in our country, and in the Church at large.

London, 20 October 2009

+ Vincent Gerard Nichols + Rowan Williams

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The seminarians in the Ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, though the Ordinariate may establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony."

It is to be assumed, of course that any young man seeking to become an Anglican use "priest" will of course remain celibate, as the Catholic clergy. If yjeu allow for these Anglicans to still have a married clergy, it will doubtless give the radical liberals in the Catholic Church ammunition to call for the allowance of a married clergy in the Roman Catholic Church as well.
Unless it is stipulated in 100% chrystal clear terms that any future Anglican seminarians will be male and remain celibate, then the Catholic Church is opening itself up to 1,000X more trouble regarding the issue of priestly celibacy that ever the few aged malcontents calling for married Catholic priests have done in the last 40 years.
I hope Pope Benedict XVI thought of these considerations, and will state in the clearest terms that whatever married clergy comes into the Catholic Church now...that's it. Any others wishing to serve must be celibate.
At least they were wise enough to state that the "Ordinary/Bishop" for these Anglicans must be celibate.
The Vatican missed a golden opportunity to end ecumenical dialog with the established Anglican Church, considering their adoption of women priests, women bishops, homosexual clergy and b;essing gay marriages.
Ecumeincal dialog with any Protestant body has always, from the beginning, been a violation of Catholic tradition and just of plain common sense and good judgement. Many liturgical and other abuses have come from it. It is best to put it to an end.

Anonymous said...

That's what true ecumenism should be.

But I wonder what will happen with married Anglican "priests" who will ask to be admitted to the Church in the future. If they would be allowed to be ordained that would mean it is better to go to Anglican seminary, marry, and ask the Catholic Church to allow your ministry and ordain you.

Wolfwood said...

Marriage has been a tradition of Anglicanism and should be allowed to continue among Anglican clergy and seminarians who become Catholic under this system.

After all, why should Anglicans be treated differently from the Eastern Rite churches? That they allow married priests hasn't caused the downfall of the Holy Catholic Church, so why would married Anglican Catholic priests cause it?

Jon said...

"If they would be allowed to be ordained that would mean it is better to go to Anglican seminary, marry, and ask the Catholic Church to allow your ministry and ordain you."

And during your years at seminary you deny yourself the solace of sacramental confession, participate in an invalid Mass where the Sacrifice is not offered, the Sacrament is not confected, and you engage in the sin of material idolatry.

Good plan.

Wolfwood said...

Also:

I've had my strong disagreements with Rowan Williams in the past, but I'm thankful for the generous tone and spirit of the joint announcement.

Anonymous said...

"Marriage has been a tradition of Anglicanism and should be allowed to continue among Anglican clergy and seminarians who become Catholic under this system."

Anglicanism is of western tradition. There's no married clergy in the Western tradition. It's not a legitimate development. Also, they have the right to maintain their liturgical and spiritual practices, NOT disciplinary practices (of which married clergy is).

Antonio said...

Y E S !!!!!!!

Luiz said...

Is it an attempt to save ecumenism?

New Catholic said...

ENOUGH WITH THE MARRIAGE AND CELIBACY TALK, ALREADY!

Today is a day of joyous celebration! Let us celebrate.

Welcome home all Anglicans who, for good reason, especially after the post-Conciliar liturgical reforms, were concerned about keeping their rites and rights and did not want to be stifled by unwelcoming bishops.

When the Apostolic Constitution is made public, we will have more knowledge of how His Holiness handled the matter of celibacy in the West.

Until then, let us rejoice.

Welcome home!

C. said...

Deo gratias!

Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!

New Catholic said...

And, to those who were already home, such as those brave men and women in the Pastoral Provision in the U.S.:

CONGRATULATIONS!

NC

Anonymous said...

"Is it an attempt to save ecumenism?

Probably not. Noice that no members of the Vatican Council for Christian Unity appeared at this news conferrence, althoufh Levada said they were invited. If it were a positive step for ecumenism with Protestants, BELIEVE ME, Kasper would have been there...all smiles.
NO, this will probably be taken very nagatively by the Anglican Communion and the USA Episcopal Church, and other Protestants like the Lutherans, etc.

With regards to Anglican "seminarians", the fact that the Pope says they should attend class with Roman Catholic seminarians in seminary I think assumes that they will be celibate (unless he is out of his mind).
The possibility of already married, or son to be married Anglican "seminarians" attending the same seminary as the Roman Catholic seminarians (who are celibate), would cause enormous problems....the agrument for allowing Roman Catholic priests to marry would become overwhelming.
If the Roman Catholic Church ever allowed for married Roman Catholic priests, I personally would leave the Church....that would be the final straw. For all intents and purposes the Protestants would have done what they couldn't with the Reformation, bring about a married Roman Catholic clergy. And for all intents and purposes, the Catholic Church would be transformed visibly into practically the same as all Protestants.

If Anglican "seminarians" are permitted to marry, then they should have their own "Anglican Use" seminary, and not contaminate the Roman Catholic seminaries with the idea of a married clergy...among other things.

Gideon Ertner said...

YIIIPEEE! YES! YES! YES!

This is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. How wonderful for all these ½ million souls who are poised to return to the bosom of the Church!

Two things also of note for the Traditionalist movement:

1. The (soon-to-be former) Traditionalist Anglicans may not use the actual Roman liturgy, but it's close enough and certainly far better than the Novus Ordo. The fact that the vast majority of the TAC is in India means that Catholic India will be, overnight, transformed from a complete liturgical cesspool to having a large component of liturgically and doctrinally very sane people.

2. As PKTP pointed out earlier, this provides a fantastic precedence for the FSSPX. And the fact that the structure was created for the Anglicans first means that not a soul can criticize the Holy Father when he lets the FSSPX have the same arrangement - in contrast to what would have happened if he created the arrangement for the FSSPX in the first place.

Do you see how brilliant Pope Benedict is? Thank You God for giving us such a genius as Pope! And even more, do you see how Divine Providence is working, laying out all the stepping-stones beautifully neatly for the restoration of the Church?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, indeed.

My post from over at NLM - Please God, I pray I'm right:

"and what will their liturgy be? book of common prayer(doctinally corrected)?"

Before he even became Pope, in fact, after Cardinal Ratzinger's letter of consolation to the conservative Episcopalians at Dallas in 2003, I predicted (which doesn't make me a prophet, it was a reasoned hunch), that this sort of reconciliation with Anglicans would be a keystone to the reform of the reform.

This gives the Holy Father a way of unlocking and restoring the treasures of traditional liturgy to the Latin-phobes without taking away the "precious" Novus Ordo.

This isn't just the English-speaking world we're talking about here. This move will give all of the diverse language groups encompassed by the TAC, and Anglican Communion itself, for that matter, the opportunity to participate in the ancient Mass in their own tongue.

Make no mistake about it. Their liturgy will be the Knott Missal or its linguistic equivalent, and this move will in the end prove the nail in the Novus Ordo coffin.

You've just witnessed the shot heard 'round the world.

~ Belloc

Woody said...

This is indeed a great day. Thank you for your kind thoughts, NC.

More later.

Gideon Ertner said...

I feel I need to qualify the statement above concerning India. Of course, there are about 5 million Eastern Catholics in India, who are for the most part liturgically and doctrinally (to my knowledge) sane. But I don't think Western and Eastern Catholics tend to mix in India, and anyway they exist mostly in the South. So I doubt they have much influence on the liturgical sensibilities of 'Westerners'.

It will be very different when a Western Catholic living in Maharashtra can go to a church which offers a liturgy which is similar to his own, and like it in Marathi, his native tongue - only much better.

Paul Haley said...

These Personal Ordinariates will be formed, as needed, in consultation with local Conferences of Bishops, and their structure will be similar in some ways to that of the Military Ordinariates which have been established in most countries to provide pastoral care for the members of the armed forces and their dependents throughout the world.

Hmmmmn. Is this the "elephant in the room"? Just exactly what role will the local conference of bishops have in this? Does it mean, for example, that a local Ordinary from the NO structure will have "veto" authority over whether such a personal diocese co-exists with his own? Does it mean that the local Ordinary from the NO structure will have authority over the Anglican bishop in any way, shape or form?

Questions abound but answers are not forthcoming...at least not yet and I'm not sure the Apostolic Constitution will spell it out. But, I'm grateful for this gesture by the Holy Father to welcome Anglican Catholics into communion with him.

Jordanes said...

What a day of joy this is! Great is the Lord who works His wonders in all His creation! The news this morning is even better than expected . . . and I hope our good Mr. Perkins won't strut TOO much as he celebrates his own victory, as he has been calling for just such a canonical structure as the Holy Father is creating (though he probably deserves at least a little strutting).

"Is it an attempt to save ecumenism?

Probably not. Notice that no members of the Vatican Council for Christian Unity appeared at this news conference, although Levada said they were invited.


Yes, they were conspicuous for their absence -- but, sad to say, their presence and participation would only have clouded this bright day, and made murkier what should be clearer.

I would say, however, that is does help to "save ecumenism," in that it is truly and properly ecumenical -- moving closer to the reunion of separated bodies of Christians with the Catholic Church. As the CDF note says, "the Personal Ordinariates established by the Apostolic Constitution can be seen as another step toward the realization the aspiration for full, visible union in the Church of Christ, one of the principal goals of the ecumenical movement." That's an understatement. It's not just "one of the principal goals" -- if it's not THE principal goal, it's not really ecumenism at all.

If it were a positive step for ecumenism with Protestants, BELIEVE ME, Kasper would have been there...all smiles.

It's not a positive step for Cardinal Kasper's brand of ecumenism with Protestants, but it's a wonderful step forward for the right kind of ecumenism: the kind that seeks and results in the conversion of Protestants to Catholicism.

NO, this will probably be taken very negatively by the Anglican Communion and the USA Episcopal Church, and other Protestants like the Lutherans, etc.

Yes, they won't like it at all (though to tell the truth, hardly anyone cares what the ever-dwindling post-Christian Episcopalians think anyway).

Just exactly what role will the local conference of bishops have in this?

It says they'll be consulted -- their counsel and input will be sought and considered, as it should be.

Does it mean, for example, that a local Ordinary from the NO structure will have "veto" authority over whether such a personal diocese co-exists with his own?

No. That would be a good deal more than being "consulted."

Does it mean that the local Ordinary from the NO structure will have authority over the Anglican bishop in any way, shape or form?

Only the authority that a local ordinary has over visiting bishops within his diocese. It would be somewhat analogous to the overlapping dioceses of different Catholic rites: my bishop, for example, has no jurisdiction over the Maronite church located in the city of his episcopal see.

Jordanes said...

"Today’s announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church."

Rowan Williams of Canterbury really joined Archbishop Nichols in issuing that statement?

Well, it's high time for him to put his money where his mouth is: he too should accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for His Church.

Andrew said...

A day of rejoicing indeed.

Party time!

Glory to God, and thanks to the Holy Father.

Loosidium said...

"It is to be assumed, of course that any young man seeking to become an Anglican use "priest" will of course remain celibate, as the Catholic clergy."

I wouldnt assume anything until we see the Apostolic Constitution.

Married clergy are an Anglican tradition, and not one we can call intrinsically invalid...

I worry this may also be an "experiment," a testing ground, for married clergy in the West on a larger scale.

"Make no mistake about it. Their liturgy will be the Knott Missal or its linguistic equivalent, and this move will in the end prove the nail in the Novus Ordo coffin."

Their liturgy will be different for different Ordinariates. At least at first, they arent going to be just one. I wonder if having a multiplicity of Personal Ordinaries wont eventually lead to their collective federation into some sort of sui juris ritual church.

Still, different liturgies will exist depending on the group. Some will continue using the Book of Divine Worship. Others may use essentially just a beefed-up Book of Common Prayer of 1928 (with Roman Canon), others may use the Anglican Missal or Knott Missal. Some groups may even petition to have the various medieval uses (like the Sarum) allowed as their "extraordinary form"...

We will also get to see how real organic development works. Dont expect all changes and editions and variations to be approved from the top-down. For a while, there might be a lot of liturgical experimentation (all tasteful, I'm sure) as different groups, different parishes, try different things and see what works, see how much of the Anglican heritage is truly salvageable, and how much needs to be removed or supplemented by Catholic sources.

Anonymous said...

Deo Gratias!!!!

And, pardon my ignorance New Catholic et al, but as I am not fully knowledgeable about the hierarchy in the U.K., when you write "Aechbishop of Canterbury" and "Archbishop of Westminster," I really do not know if you are referring to Catholic bishops or Anglicans. Maybe next time you could use parentheses? As I read the statement from them, I really could not tell if they were Catholics or Anglicans. I saw the names at the very end, and at least the name of Rowan Williams clarified it for me. Either way, what a fantastic day! And, wouldn't it be superb if Newman were beatified soon? Perhaps near February 22, 2010?

Gerald said...

This is a day of rejoicing! Let us be with the father to welcome his other son, our brother back.

Deo Gratias!

Anonymous said...

Should all the Anglican "priests" be ordained again? Aren´t their ordinations null and void?

Hidden One said...

Some are be null and void, some are and/or will be acknowledged as valid. (That's what happens when you get ordained by Old Catholics or Orthodox of various varieties.)

Anonymous said...

Truly the generosity, wisdom, and magnanimity of Pope Benedict-- in imitation of Christ whose vicar he humbly serves as-- knows no bounds.

How can it be that we, such an obstinate and sinful people, are given such a glorious pontiff to lead Christ's Flock?

Blessed be God forever!