HOUSTON HOSTS CHURCH HISTORY

HOUSTON HOSTS CHURCH HISTORY

Time has not been very generous with itself during my time in Houston for the episcopal ordination of Steven Lopes as the first Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of The Chair of Peter. That takes place in several hours at Houston’s co-cathedral. I will write at length in coming days about this momentous event and will post a lot of photos,

A brief mention of events of the last two days and two photos – probably also history-making – have been posted on my Facebook page: facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420

More to come so stay tuned!

Say a pray for the new Bishops!

VATICAN INSIDER: WHAT IS THE PERSONAL ORDINARIATE? – A LOOK AT THE NEXT BIG EVENTS ON THE JUBILEE OF MERCY CALENDAR

As you will read below in my preview of “Vatican Insider,” I leave tomorrow for Houston to attend a very important event in the life of the Church as well as of one of her priests. I’ll be writing about this and posting photos when I’m in Houston, and I’ll do my best to be timely and offer good insight but the agenda is quite full so I will have to work hard to find time!

VATICAN INSIDER: WHAT IS THE PERSONAL ORDINARIATE?

If you listen to Vatican Insider when it airs on Saturday, I will be on a plane heading for Houston, Texas. If you listen to the Sunday re-air, I will be in Houston and preparing for a marvelous event on February 2, the episcopal ordination of a good friend, Bishop-elect Steven Lopes, as the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Peter. The Personal Ordinariate is a structure in the Church created by Pope Benedict in 2009 to answer requests by Anglicans who wanted to enter into full communion with Rome. The first ordinariate to be created was Our Lady of Walsingham in the UK in January 2011. Msgr. Keith Newton, a former Anglican bishop was appointed by Benedict XVI as the first ordinary.

MSGR NEWTON

A second Ordinariate was created a year later on January 1, 2012. in the U.S. and is known as the Personal Ordinariate of the See of Peter. As its website says: The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is equivalent to a diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition. Members of the Ordinariate are fully Roman Catholic, while retaining elements of Anglican heritage in their celebration of liturgy and in the hospitality and ministries of their Catholic communities. Based in Houston, Texas, the Ordinariate has more than 40 Roman Catholic parishes and communities across the United States and Canada.

This weekend and next on Vatican Insider, we will re-air my two-part interview with Msgr. Newton, helping you to better understand the ordinariate.

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

A LOOK AT THE NEXT BIG EVENTS ON THE JUBILEE OF MERCY CALENDAR

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization and Msgr. Graham Bell, under secretary of the same dicastery, presided at a press conference this morning in the Holy See Press Office to explain the event for the Missionaries of Mercy and also the temporary transfer to Rome of the mortal remains of Sts. Pio of Pietrelcina and Leopold Mandic.

The multi-lingual Archbishop Fisichella spoke in Italian but offered an English translation of his talk:

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It is has been almost two months now since Pope Francis opened the Holy Door of St. Peter’s. Since that moment, the Doors of Mercy have been opened all around the world. The incredible number of people who have registered for these events allows us to acknowledge how this insight of Pope Francis, his idea of having this Extraordinary Jubilee, has answered a true need of the people of God who are receiving this event of grace with great joy and enthusiasm. We can conclude from this participation that the Jubilee is being intensely lived in all the world and in every local Church, where this time of grace is being organized as a genuine form of renewal for the Church and as a particular moment of the new evangelization.

Every day we receive thousands of pictures and documents from around the world attesting to the commitment and the faith of believers. Yet all of this activity has not stopped a substantial number of pilgrims from arriving in Rome during this period. According to the data available to us on a daily basis, as of today 1,392,000 people have participated in Jubilee events. An interesting detail is that 40% of those who have attended come from abroad, speaking largely Spanish and French. We have registered pilgrims from Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Korea, Kenya, Mozambique, El Salvador, New Zealand, Argentina, Mexico, the Fiji Islands, Russia, Belarus, the Seychelles, the Ivory Coast, Chad, Kuwait, the U.S.A., Albania and from many other countries. I would like to reiterate that this is not the criteria by which to judge the actual outcome of the Jubilee. A Holy Year of Mercy goes well beyond numbers, for it is intended to touch the hearts and the minds of people in order to  assist  them  in  coming to  understand  the  ways  in  which  God’s  great  love manifests itself in their daily lives. It is a time during which to assess our lives of faith and to understand how we are capable of conversion and renewal, both of which come from recognizing the importance of remaining focused upon what is essential. In any case, a general evaluation of the Jubilee cannot be made after only two months but must be done at its conclusion. All of the other considerations at the moment are incomplete and temporary and, thus, do not merit particular attention.

During this period, Pope Francis has carried out two particular signs of his concrete witness of mercy. On Friday, December 18, he opened the Door of Charity in the homeless shelter, “Don Luigi di Liegro”, where he celebrated Holy Mass in the refectory. On January 15, he visited the nursing home for the aged, “Bruno Buozzi” in Torrespaccata, after which he went to Casa Iride where he spent time with those in vegetative states who are being assisted by their families. These signs possess a symbolic value before all of the many needs that are present in society today. They are, however, intended to stir in all of us a greater awareness of the many situations of need in our cities and to offer a small response of caring and aid.

There  are  two  particular events  that  now  merit  our attention.  The  first  pertains  to  the presence in Rome of the urns containing the relics of Saint Leopold Mandić and Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. Such an occasion is of great significance for it is an unprecedented event, given the stories of these two saints who spent their lives in the service of the mercy of God. Padre Leopold (1866-1942) was canonized by John Paul II on December 16, 1983 and is less well known than Padre Pio. Yet, his hunger for holiness spread beyond the Church of Padua, where he lived the major part of his life and where his memory and his relics remain. Originally from Croatia, this Capuchin father dedicated all of his life to the confessional. For almost thirty years, he spent from ten to fifteen hours a day in the secrecy of his cell, the very place which became a confessional for thousands of people who found in their relationships with him the privileged witness of forgiveness and of mercy. Some of his brothers noted that he was “ignorant and too lenient in forgiving everyone without discernment.” Yet, his simple and humble response to this charge leaves one speechless: “Should the Crucified blame me for being lenient, I would answer Him: Lord, you gave me this bad example. I have not yet reached the folly of your having died for souls.” Padre Pio (1887-1968), who was canonized in 2002 and also by John Paul II, does not require lengthy presentations. This simple Capuchin friar spent his entire life at San Giovanni Rotondo without ever leaving that town. Certainly, during his life, some in Rome caused him to suffer, but his holiness always prevailed.  In the silence of obedience, he also became a privileged witness of mercy, dedicating all of his life to the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We are grateful to the Capuchin  Fathers  and  to  the  Bishops  of  the  Dioceses  of  Padoa  and  Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo for having responded so graciously to the wish of the Pope that the relics of these two saints remain in Rome for a period of time during the Jubilee.

The program is quite simple. The urns containing the relics will arrive in Rome on February 3 where they will be placed in the Church of San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura. The church will be open to the faithful starting at 15:00 with a celebration of reception. The relics will remain in San Lorenzo until 20:30 the following day, during which time there will be a number of celebrations reserved for the vast extended Franciscan Family. An all-night vigil is being organized in the Jubilee Church of San Salvatore in Lauro, which will begin at 22:00 on February 4. The prayer will continue until the following day, February 5, with various celebrations and will conclude with Holy Mass at 14:00 presided by His Excellency Michele Castoro, the Archbishop of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo. At 16:00, a procession with the two urns containing the relics will begin from San Salvatore in Lauro and then proceed the entire length of Via della Conciliazione in order to arrive at the sagrato of St. Peter’s Basilica. There on the sagrato, His Eminence Angelo Cardinal Comastri, the Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, will receive the relics and after a moment of prayer, will then accompany the relics into the Basilica where they will be placed in the central nave before the  Altar  of  the  Confession  for  people  to  venerate.  The  relics  will  remain  in  St.  Peter’s  for veneration until the morning of February 11 when, after the Holy Mass of thanksgiving at 7:30 am at the Altar of the Chair, they will be returned to their original homes. It is opportune to note that on February 10, Ash Wednesday, the Basilica will remain closed in the morning for the General Audience and then, in the afternoon, Holy Mass will be celebrated in the Basilica to mark the beginning of Lent. Thus, those who wish to venerate the relics are kindly asked to choose to do so on one of the previous days and to follow along the Jubilee reserved walkway in order to enter through the security check point as rapidly as possible.

As previously noted, the second event pertains to the celebration that will take place on Ash Wednesday when the Holy Father will give the mandate to the Missionaries of Mercy. As attested to in the Bull of Indiction, Misericordiae vultus, the Missionaries are to be a “sign of the Church’s maternal solicitude for the People of God, enabling them to enter the profound richness of this mystery so fundamental to the faith. There will be priests to whom I will grant the authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See, so that the breadth of their mandate as confessors will be even clearer. They will be, above all, living signs of the Father’s readiness to welcome those in search of his pardon. They will be missionaries of mercy because they will be facilitators of a truly human encounter, a source of liberation, rich with responsibility for overcoming obstacles and taking up the new life of Baptism again. They will be led in their mission by the words of the Apostle: ‘For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all’” (Rom11:32).

Thus, the Missionaries of Mercy are a select number of priests who have received from the Pope the charge to be privileged witnesses in their respective Churches of the extraordinariness of this Jubilee event. It is only the Pope who nominates these Missionaries, not the Bishops, and it is he who entrusts them with the mandate to announce the beauty of the mercy of God while being humble and wise confessors who possess a great capacity to forgive those who approach the confessional. The Missionaries, who come from every continent, number over 1,000. I am delighted to announce that there are Missionaries coming from many distant countries and, among these, some of which have a uniquely significant importance such as: Burma, Lebanon, China, South Korea, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Burundi, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Latvia, East Timor, Indonesia, Thailand, and Egypt. There will also be Oriental Rite priests.

We have received a great response for participation but must place a limit on the large number of requests in order to ensure that the specific sign value, one which expresses how truly special the initiative is, be maintained. All of the Missionaries have received the permission of their respective diocesan Bishops or Religious Superiors and will make themselves available to those requesting their services throughout the entirety of the Jubilee but, most especially, during the Lenten Season.

There will be 700 Missionaries arriving in Rome. Pope Francis will meet with them on February 9 in order to express his feelings regarding this initiative which will certainly be one of the most touching and significant of the Jubilee of Mercy. On the following day, only the Missionaries of Mercy will concelebrate  with  the  Holy  Father,  during  which  time they will receive the “mandate”, as well as the faculty to absolve those sins reserved to the Holy See. An interesting story may help to capture the pastoral interest that this initiative has garnered around the world. Father Richard from Australia will visit 27 communities in his rural Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle where there is only one church and no priests in residence. Traveling in a camper, he will journey from community to community as a “Missionary of Mercy on Wheels”! This is but an example of the way in which the Jubilee is meant to reach all, allowing everyone to touch the closeness and the tenderness of God.

Finally, regarding other Jubilee events, the first Jubilee Audience will be held in St. Peter’s Square on Saturday, January 30. Pope Francis has responded generously to the many requests he has received from pilgrims who wish to meet him. Consequently, one Saturday a month has been added to the official calendar for a special audience, one which will be in addition to the regular Wednesday Audiences. This first audience already has 20,000 people registered. Another event of particular interest is the Jubilee for the Curia, the Governorate, and Institutions connected to the Holy See to be held on February 22. This celebration will begin with a reflection given by Father Marco Rupnik at 8:30 am in the Paul VI Hall. After this meditation, there will be a procession through  St.  Peter’s  Square  which  will  pass  through  the  Holy  Door.  Holy Mass  will  then  be celebrated by Pope Francis at 10:00.

The Jubilee continues to following its course and we are certain that, in accord with the desires of Pope Francis, it will be an important occasion “to live out in our daily lives the mercy which the Father constantly extends to all of us.”

JUST AN ORDINARIATE FRIENDSHIP – THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

JUST AN ORDINARIATE FRIENDSHIP

Fr. Christopher Pearson’s post on my Facebook page brought back some terrific memories of a trip to London in September 2010, a wonderful meal in an Italian restaurant in London and a friendship born that night. I write about this because of his post and also because you’ve heard two of my conversations with Fr. Christopher on “Vatican Insider.” (photo from his Facebook page)

FR. CHRISTOPHER PEARSON

As you will see, there is another important thread as I weave this story: The Personal Ordinariate.

I had gone to London for six days to cover Pope Benedict’s amazing visit to the UK. On Friday, September 17, the second day of his state visit and the day after his triumphant reception in Scotland, he was scheduled to visit St. Mary’s University College in Twickenham, where I was credentialed to cover his meeting with 3,000 young people – schoolchildren, students – to celebrate Catholic education.

Twickeham was a bit of a train trip from London and I had to be up at 4 am to get the train and be at the college to go through security, find the media section, etc. It was a terrific morning and experience (I wrote about it extensively on these pages) and I was only able to write about it and download photos after returning to London and going to the Queen Elizabeth II Convention Center, the media center for the papal visit

I finished work shortly after 9 pm and was absolutely starving. I had had only a sandwich and some orange juice for lunch – I don’t even remember having breakfast! All the restaurants and pubs were closed near the center but the personnel told me there should be a few places open about four blocks up Queen Victoria street. That sounded good to me and I knew I had to find a place as I had a phone interview to do for EWTN at 10 pm.

It is fairly rare that I seek an Italian restaurant when I travel but Il Coliseo seemed suitable and there was quite a number of people inside – a good sign as Londoners generally eat earlier than Romans do, thus a restaurant with a crowd at 9:30 seemed ideal. I ordered dinner, got up just before 10 to go outside and do the EWTN phone report and returned to my seat to finish dinner.

Just as I ordered coffee (to try and sat awake as I had now been up for 18 hours), two men came into the restaurant. The first was wearing a Roman collar and carrying a huge Vatican flag and he was accompanied by a friend. They sat down at a table not far from mine. I smiled and decided I would go and ask a priest his thoughts about the papal visit, Pope Benedict, etc. I was still wearing my media credentials but apparently did not need them for, as I approached the table, the man who turned out to be Fr. Pearson, said, “Oh my word, it’s Joan Lewis from EWTN!”

It turned out that Fr. Pearson was the pastor of an Anglican parish, St. Agnes, and he was with what Anglicans call the parish ‘warden’, also named Christopher. They invited me to have my coffee while they had dinner and the next hour or more was filled with some of the most stimulating conversation I’ve ever had about the Church, faith, Catholics and Anglicans, Pope Benedict, the Personal Ordinariate, and so on. Had Father not told me he was Anglican I would not have doubted for a minute that he was Catholic. But not to get ahead of myself.

I had my first interview with him on that trip: We spoke about the Personal Ordinariate, established only the year before by Pope Benedict which is, put simply, a structure created by the Catholic Church for those bishops, priests and people in the Anglican Communion who seek to enter the Catholic Church and be in full communion with the Successor of Peter.

In 2011 when the first Personal Ordinariate, Our Lady of Walsingham, was created, Fr. Christopher joined and became a Catholic priest, as did many other priests and several Anglican bishops, one of whom became the Ordinary of this first ordinariate and is now also a friend of mine, Msgr. Keith Newton. I spent 4 days in London in January 2011, right after Our Lady of Waslingham was established and Msgr. Newton was named as ordinary. I interviewed him and also visited St. Agnes where many of the parishioners had a thousand questions about the Ordinariate. Many, it turned out, would want to join.

My second interview with Fr. Christopher for Vatican Insider was when he was a Catholic priest. He is now the rector of the Ordinariate and Parish Church of the Most Precious Blood in London.

Almost as if to complete the circle, it looks like I will be going, at the end of the month, to Houston, Texas, where yet another good friend, Bishop-elect Steven Lopes, will be ordained as the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Peter! He will be ordained on February 2 at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

I’ll have to find out if Fr. Christopher or Msgr. Newton will be in attendance.

If not, we must plan to meet in London at Il Coliseo!

THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL, PREFECT OF THE SECRETARIAT FOR THE ECONOMY, announced on Sunday the Holy See is taking steps to “slave-proof” the Vatican supply chain. He was speaking in Rome during a meeting of The Global Foundation, an Australian organization which brings together business and government leaders. “I am pleased to confirm that the Vatican itself will commit to slavery-proofing its own supply chains and I hope that today’s announcement will serve as encouragement for others to follow suit,” Cardinal Pell told the gathering. At the same meeting, the Consumer Goods Forum – a consortium of major companies including Carrefour, Barilla, and Nestle – announced it had passed a resolution to “eradicate” forced labour from their supply chains.

“INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE AND EXTREMISM: REASONS AND REMEDIES” was the title of the First Arab Thinkers Forum, held in Abu Dhabi January 17 and 18 at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research. The only non-Muslim speaker was Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, who intervened during the first session during which the Grand Mufti of Lebanon, Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan, also gave an address. Fr. Ayuso Guixot structured his discourse around five key points: extremism, the culture of encounter, the key role of religious leaders, the need for sincere dialogue and the importance of prayer. He emphasised that it was not his intention to pursue considerations on the economic, political, social and cultural reasons for extremism, well known to those present, preferring to focus instead on Pope Francis’ recommendations to the international community on how to construct peace which can serve to counter extremism.

A PRECIOUS TREASURE FROM THE ROME CHURCH OF SAN GREGORIO AL CELIO was brought back home on Monday after spending a week on loan to Canterbury Cathedral for a meeting of worldwide Anglican leaders there. The head of a crozier, or pastoral staff, associated with St Gregory the Great, has been on display in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral, alongside a rare 6th century book of the Gospels given by Pope Gregory to St Augustine as he set off on his mission to take the Christian faith to England. The manuscript is the oldest surviving Latin illustrated Gospel book and one of the most ancient European books in existence. Appropriately, the relic of St Augustine was returned to Rome at the start of the annual week of prayer for Christian Unity. (sources: VIS, Vatican Radio)

POPE FRANCIS MEETS WITH IOR BOARD OF DIRECTORS – POPE NAMES BISHOP TO HEAD ORDINARIATE OF CHAIR OF PETER – WHAT IS A PERSONAL ORDINARIATE? READ ON….

A good friend, Fr. Steven Lopes, was just named today to a very important post in the United States – a good news/bad news announcement. Good news, obviously, for Fr. Steven but bad for those of us here in Rome who have enjoyed his friendship for so many years. I will talk about the Ordinariate to which he was named in the story below and give you some background on the Personal Ordinariate, its history and early beginnings in the UK.

I met with the very first Ordinary, Msgr. Keith Newton, exactly two weeks after the big announcement was made on January 15, 2011 in London. I’ve followed the Personal Ordinariate since its institution by Pope Benedict in 2009, as you may remember from these pages and my interviews on Vatican Insider.  I spent 5 days in London in January 2011 researching the newly established Ordinariate and interviewing people.

Part of my report comes from the columns I wrote in London and part from the Ordinariate media office which published a news letter immediately after the announcement today in Rome. I also feature a Q&A from 2011 that explains the Personal Ordinariate quite well. The Ordinariate has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CSPOrdinariate

God speed, Bishop-elect Steven!  May God sit on your shoulder! May we meet again at “La Vittoria” to break bread before your permanent departure for Houston!  Our paths crossed last week at La Vittoria: Fr. Steve and a friend were leaving and I was arriving and Fr. Keyes took a photo and posted it on my Facebook page on Nov. 20.

STEVE LOPES

POPE FRANCIS MEETS WITH IOR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

A brief Vatican communique this morning noted that, about 10:30 today, Pope Francis visited IOR, the Institute for the Works of Religion commonly called the Vatican bank. He met with the Board of Directors for approximately twenty minutes, at which time he announced the appointment of Dr. Gian Franco Mammi as the new director general. He will be assisted by Dr. Giulio Mattietti, pending the selection of a new deputy director. (photo: L’Osservatore Romano)IOR - Pope

POPE NAMES BISHOP TO HEAD ORDINARIATE OF CHAIR OF PETER

The Vatican announced today that Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Steven Lopes as the first bishop Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of The Chair of St. Peter. The bishop-elect was born in Fremont, California and was ordained a priest in 2001. He holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and is currently an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Personal Ordinariate is a structure equivalent to a diocese for Roman Catholics who were raised in the Anglican tradition. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was established by Pope Benedict on January 1, 2012, with its headquarters in Houston, Texas. Instituted to serve Roman Catholics across the U.S. and Canada, it is the first diocese of its kind in North America. The Ordinariate was created to provide a path for groups of Anglicans to become fully Roman Catholic, while retaining elements of their worship traditions and spiritual heritage in their union with the Holy Roman Church.

The first such Ordinariate was the Personal Ordiniariate of our Lady of Walsingham. On Saturday, January 15, 2011 the Vatican announced that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith erected a Personal Ordinariate within the territory of England and Wales for those groups of Anglican clergy and faithful who have expressed their desire to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church. This was in accordance with the provisions of Pope Benedict’s November 4, 2009 Apostolic Constitution ‘Anglicanorum coetibus’ that provided for the erection of such an ordinariate and came after careful consultation with the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.

The Vatican statement announcing the first Ordinariate noted that, “For doctrinal reasons, the Church does not, in any circumstances, allow the ordination of married men as bishops. However, the Apostolic Constitution does provide, under certain conditions, for the ordination as Catholic priests of former Anglican married clergy.” Keith Newton, a married bishop in the Anglican tradition, was named as the first ordinary of Walsingham. He may wear his episcopal attire but has the title ‘Monsignor’.

Bishop-elect Lopes’ appointment comes just five days before the Ordinariate begins using Divine Worship: The Missal, a new book of liturgical texts for the celebration of Mass in the Personal Ordinariates around the globe. The texts were approved by the Vatican for use beginning the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29, 2015.

Bishop-elect Lopes was directly involved in developing these texts for worship: since 2011, he has served as the executive coordinator of the Vatican commission, Anglicanae Traditiones, which produced the new texts. The new missal is a milestone in the life of the Ordinariate, since the Ordinariate’s mission is particularly expressed through the reverence and beauty of its worship, which shares the treasury of the Anglican liturgical and musical traditions with the wider Catholic community.

The Ordinariate news release explained that Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, who headed the Ordinariate of the Chair of Peter since 2012, introduced Bishop-elect Lopes at a news conference today at the Chancery Offices of the Ordinariate in Houston. “With this appointment,” it says, “Pope Francis affirms and amplifies Pope Benedict’s vision for Christian unity, in which diverse expressions of one faith are joined together in the Church.”

By naming Bishop-elect Lopes, the Pope has confirmed that the Ordinariate is a permanent, enduring part of the Catholic Church, like any other diocese – one that is now given a bishop so that it may deepen its contribution to the life of the Church and the world.

WHAT IS A PERSONAL ORDINARIATE?  READ ON….

The following Q&A was part of a lengthy communiqué issued by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales at the historic announcement of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham on January 15, 2011:

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.

Do all Anglicans who wish to become Catholics now have to be members of the Ordinariate?

No. Any individual former Anglican who wishes to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church, may do so without becoming a registered member of the Ordinariate. As stated above, the Ordinariate is being established essentially for groups of former Anglican faithful and their clergy who wish to maintain as members of the Catholic Church, within the canonically approved and structured ecclesial life of the Ordinariate, those aspects of their Anglican spiritual, liturgical and pastoral tradition which are recognised as authentic by the Catholic Church.

What is the ‘Ordinariate’ then?

The Ordinariate will be a specific ecclesiastical jurisdiction that is similar to a diocese and will be led by its own ‘Ordinary’ … who will be a bishop or priest. However, unlike a diocese its membership will be on a ‘personal’ rather than a ‘territorial’ basis; that is, no matter where a member of the Ordinariate lives within England and Wales they will, in the first instance, be under the ordinary ecclesial jurisdiction of the Ordinariate and not the diocese where they are resident. The Ordinariate will be made up of laity, clergy and religious who were formerly members of the Anglican Communion. Following reception into full communion with the Catholic Church, the laity and religious will become members of the Ordinariate by enrolment in a register; with ordination as priests and deacons, the clergy will be directly incardinated into (placed under the jurisdiction of) the Ordinariate.”