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The ordinariate is really happening

Last night saw the first receptions of groups into the ordinariate

By on Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Mgr Keith Newton annoints a candidate's head with chrism (Photo: The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham)

Mgr Keith Newton annoints a candidate's head with chrism (Photo: The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham)

The ordinariate is really happening. It really is. After a year and a half since the publication of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus which made establishing an ordinariate possible, and many earlier years of gestation, it is finally becoming real. Sure, it was established in January but until last night, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham numbered fewer than 20 people.

Today its numbers have already more than doubled and by Easter morning its numbers will have swelled to close to a thousand members. These will not only include more than 60 members of clergy, but also very importantly, the committed lay people who have followed their pastors into full Communion with the Catholic Church.

I found it very moving to be at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark last night to watch Mgr Keith Newton, the ordinariate’s head, receive one of the first, first wave groups into the personal ordinariate. It was clearly a emotional experience for the people who were there with their families, some of whom were already Catholics, others who would not follow them and even others who were being received with their families.

Christopher Pearson, the former parish priest of St Agnes Kennington, led the group, which was mainly from the parish. The Catholic priest of the parish where the group had been receiving instruction took part in the ceremony as did Fr Mark Woodruff, the acting director of the Catholic League and Canon James Cronin. Another nice touch was the presence of Catholic lay people from the parish in the congregation who had come out in support.

The whole process of reception and confirmation, when Mgr Newton welcomed each new Catholic into the Church by name, called the Holy Spirit down on them and then anointed their foreheads with chrism, was incredible. It always is, but there was also the sense, last night, of a whole community coming into the Catholic Church together.

Mgr Newton also seemed moved by the celebration at St George’s, which in effect marks the realisation of what he represents as ordinary. After the Mass he told the congregation and the new members of the ordinariate how delighted he was that they had come. He said that he had thought of himself as a leader of a flock when he had been an Anglican bishop. He said he had hoped people would follow his lead into the ordinariate but had been worried that he might turn around and find no one there and he thanked them for being there. (NB: This is a rough paraphrase as I had packed up pen and paper at this point).

The newly confirmed became members of the Ordinariate with their reception into the Catholic Church. Once the ordinariate has its mother church—Mgr Newton said that at the moment he is more concerned with finding housing for all his clergy than looking for the principal church—they will be registered there.

  • Antony Ryan

    Welcome, new Catholics.

  • Antony Ryan

    Welcome, new fellow Catholics.

  • D Burke

    This is a great moment for the christian church. Gods will be done!

  • SOSJ

    I look forward to a new energy springing from these new Catholics to help to overcome the contraction and acceptance of decline we have seen in recent years, Our hierarchy, with a few notable exceptions, appear to be stuck in the 60s and dabble in barely disguised socialist views (despite the many repugnant anti-Christian policies, based on popular pleasure and convenience, which were pursued by the last socialist government). Let us pray for a renewal helped by the new blood and the leadership of Pope Benedict.

  • Bishop Matthias

    Well done, good and faithful servant. May the good Lord be the ultimate answer to all your doubts and fears. Be of good cheer brother

  • Tom

    I accompanied my colleagues and friends to their ordination into the ordinariate last night after deciding I could not in good conscience undertake an oath that requires you not to freely question the many un-scriptured teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

    I have but a short time remaining at my old Anglican church before it inevitably falls prey to the work of Gods enemies as well in which to find a church that better reflects the teachings of the Bible. I can never join an organisation that requires me to commit blasphemy by referring to its head as ‘Holy Father’ or the unbelievably ‘Vicar of Christ’

  • http://profiles.google.com/geburrell George Burrell

    Our of the fat, and into the fire!

  • Christopher Lee

    Tom, I urge you to keep an open mind here. This is a joyous day to welcome our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ into the Universal Church. You may have your misgivings about the teachings of the Catholic Church. However, I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS IS THE RIGHT PLACE FOR YOU TO AIR YOUR NEGATIVITY, ESPECIALLY IF YOU CLAIM TO BE A PERSON OF GOOD CONSCIENCE. Please do not impinge on the faith of your colleagues and friends as they enter the Ordinariate. Give them the respect they truly deserve for making this courageous move.

  • Hidden One

    I unfortunately have to question the depth and thoroughness of your study of the Catholic faith, given that it was not an ordination. Perhaps, in regard to the Scriptures, a reading of Rev. H. G. Graham’s book “Where We Got the Bible” (which is online) might be good. It has more Protestant sources (counting Anglicans) than Catholic ones, if you’re concerned about that sort of thing. Fair warning… it played a significant role in my conversion to Catholicism from non-denominational Protestantism.

  • guest

    Tom, best of luck finding a church that doesn’t use a bible whose canon was determined by Catholic bishops inspired infallibly by the Holy Spirit.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jill8.gfl Jill Armstead

    A bizarre situation since Keith Newton in all probability has previously confirmed some of these people into the Church of England. I suspect that the Ordinariate will be a five-minute wonder and most people will either integrate fully into a Roman Catholic community or return to the CofE.

  • Ralph

    In entering the Ordinariate, they have integrated fully into a Roman Catholic community. Read Anglicanorum. The Holy father does not intend for this to be a temporary situation. The Ordinariate is to preserve and share the Anglican Patrimony within the universal Church.

  • Tommy

    Believe it or not, there are some churches who don’t dishonour our spiritual fathers name and give justice where justice is due. By that I refer to the real Vicar of Christ, the Holy Spirit. Was it or will it be the Pope who comes to your aid in your dungeon or at times of crisis? Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Matt. 23:9).

    ‘For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise.” [Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition (Washington, DC: US Catholic Conference, 1994, 1997) #882.]

    Outrageous!

  • Tommy

    It appears I have erred by confusingly referring to being received into the RCC as being ordained and you are quite right my Roman catholic knowledge is somewhat lacking however, by directing me to read HG Graham’s book you yourself exhibit a lack of knowledge of the Bible contents otherwise you would have determined the essence of topic with regard the RCC straying from the Bible teaching and its own equivalent, the catechism. (see above)

    It is a pity though rather than simply substantiating the outrageous claims made by the RCC, you merely label me a Protestant for questioning the scriptural evidence of which it claims its Popes divinity can be referred to by the same title Jesus reserved for God himself and further lay claim to be a power equivalent to the Holy Spirit, again of God himself. Did St Peter or any of the Prophets or Saints ever lay claim to such or for that matter the the fallen Angel Satan??

    Of course there is an argument that well two billion catholics can’t be all wrong but can I refer you to Matthew 7:13-14. 24:24-25

    May God guide you in your pilgramage and keep you safe.

  • Tommy

    Thanks, I do keep an open mind and was hoping that someone here would put me right on my my ‘NEGATIVE’ perceptions as it follows a request from my ordinariate dean, soon to be priest, not to participate in the catechism course (didn’t like answering question such as above) that I am here seeking some biblical authority that can point me in the right direction?

  • Swindoner

    Fellow Catholics, isn’t it great when Christians get together instead of separating from each other? Let us hope there is more of this to come in the future. Thanks be to God and Pope Benedict too.

  • Katerina

    No blasphemy in The True Orthodox Catholic Church of Christ – telling the Truth and living the unchanged Apostolic Faith since 33AD!
    Seek and you shall find!

  • Tommy

    So many thanks Katerina, I will certainly follow this though and read up on the orthodox church. One of the questions I was asking at the catechism course for which I was asked to leave was the scriptural legitimacy of Rome’s claim to be the successor to St Peter. Never received an answer that properly dealt with the inquisitive nature of the question.

  • Anonymous

    It is happening here in Canada too!

  • Christopher Lee

    Tommy, I do understand where you are coming from. One black sheep in the flock is bad enough to stain the entire flock so to say. However, this is not reflective of the entire Catholic Church. There are many people of good faith in the Catholic Church. Nothwithstanding, there are rotten apples among its ranks too.

    Having flirted with the Baptist Church before, I am only too aware of your eagerness in wanting to search for the truth. There are many people of good faith in the Catholic Church who will be happy to assist you arrive at an answer. You are at liberty to accept or reject the answer.

    Faith goes hand in hand with the Bible and Tradition. However, as you may be aware, Tradition has literally be purged or selectively used in many non-Catholic Churches. An understanding of Tradition is crucial because it gives you a full understanding of the practices in the Catholic Church.

    At this juncture, I can only encourage you to read the history of the Christian Church starting from the time of Christ. This will take you through the centuries, including the developments of the liturgies and the split of the Eastern Church from the Western Church, and the Protestant Reformation. For me, the history of the Church was instrumental in my turning back to the Catholic faith since I discovered that there was a living Church since the time of Christ – much against what the Baptist pastor said then.

    Lastly, the notion of Papal Infallibility is perhaps the least understood dogmas of the Catholic faith. I attribute it to the linguistic nuance when the definition was translated from Latin to English. Also, the dogma was perilously defined by Vatican I which was abruptly ended when Napoleanic troops captured Rome. It was left to Vatican II to address the imbalance to the dogma. However, by then, the dogma of Papal Infallibility had already been misconstrued by many.

  • Christopher Lee

    Tommy, the Holy Spirit is not the Vicar of Christ. Your understanding of the role of the Holy Father is incorrect. I do not wish to go into a discourse with you here as this is not the appropriate forum. However, I encourage you tolook up in history books (go to a secular source if you think it is more impartial) on the role of the Papacy in the Catholic Church. If you approach this issue from what you have taught by your non-Catholic pastors, the Pope will always be wrong from your understanding.

  • Christopher Lee

    Tommy, read up on the developments of the Orthodox Church and why some Orthodox Churches eventually reunite with Rome (Eastern-Rite Catholics). In as much as the Orthodox may disagree with Rome on the primacy of the Pope, they are, frankly, very much in agreement on many aspects of the faith, notably on the role of Tradition and Magisterium. I suspect that the priest who told you to leave is not very knowledgeable on the Catholic faith. This is unfortunate and regretable.

    I do not wish to engage you here on a scriptural legitimacy of Rome’s claim. However, I ask you to seek out why some non-Catholic Christians become Catholics. You will find that many deduce that there was already a living Church before the official canon of the scriptures was made in 390 AD. In other words, the Bible came from the Church and not the other way round as many Protestants believe.

  • Tommy

    There’s no doubt who the ‘vicar of Christ’ is: It is the holy spirit and the only source of knowledge for the RCC came from its own people, those who aspire to join it and of course it’s own bible the catechism:

    The Pope enjoys, by divine institution, supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls” ccc, para 937

    “The First See is judged by no one. 1983 Canon Law

    ‘Every one of the faithful must adhere to such teachings with the obedience of faith’. ccc Para, 185

    The first lie of Satan, ‘ye shall be as gods’ Genesis 3:5

    ‘who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God showing himself that he is God’ Thess, 2:4

    ‘And I saw and look! A white horse;and a crown was given to him, and he went forth conquering and to complete his conquest’ Rev 6:2-8

    ‘Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it’ Matt 7:13-14

  • Tommy

    Chris, from what I understand there are real fundamental differences between the two catholic churches with the legitimacy of the Pope and his claim to be the the head of the universal church just two. Additionally, the orthodox church seem to believe Mary was just like us and not born without sin which is what I think the bible reads. No small issues there but Im having a read up but have no closed mind.

  • Chris Lee

    Hi Tommy,

    I do not wish to further engage a lengthy discourse here. As I’ve indicated, this isn’t the appropriate place to do so. The main issue I see here is that you’re coming from an insular thinking that’s along the lines of a hardcore evangelist. God bless.

    Chris

  • Chris Lee

    Hi Tommy,

    Mary and the Saints are held up with high reverence in the Orthodox Churches, more so than Catholic Churches (sorry, not offense to Catholics here). The staunchest defenders of Mary came from Orthodox sources during debates in Ecumenical Councils of the early Church.

    Ask an informed Orthodox priest on his take on the issue of original sin in Mary. You’ll find that there’s no official teaching from the Orthodox on this. Neither is there an official disapproval of this teaching. They dispute the Catholic claims on Immaculate Conception because they said that the Catholics defined it without them. The same can be said of the Assumption of Mary. The fact of the matter is that both of these dogmas are derived from Traditions. The irony is that they are drawn, for the most part, from Eastern sources.

    As for the primacy of Rome, it’s a touchy issue since Constantinople claims that it’s the new Rome (2nd Rome) after the Ancient Roman Empire moved its seat of power from Rome to Constantinople (it’s politics here).

    The problem is exacerbated by the emergence of the Russian Church as the 3rd Rome. Ask any religious commentator, you will find that there are 2 competing seats of power in the Orthodox world – one in Constantinople and the other in Russia. The Russian Church holds the greater influence now as Constantinople is greatly weakened by the Muslim majority in Turkey.

    Historically, the Orthodox Churches have accused Rome of not coming to their aid, resulting in much of the Orthodox world falling into Muslim’s hands. During the pontificate of Paul VI, tension eased somewhat till the emergence of the Ukrainian Catholic Church after the fall of communism. The Ukrainian Catholic Church was forced to merged with the Russian Orthodox Church during Communism. The Ukrainian Catholic Church is one of the 27 Eastern-Rite Churches in communion with Rome.

    Chris

  • Tommy

    Hi Chris,

    Many thanks for the class on catholic church’s history.

    I plan to visit an orthodox church around here (there must be one somewhere) as welll as read up a bit more on the history of the Christian church.

    On the one hand, there is the Anglicans which I would happily leave presuming women bishops and the rest of the anti Christian stuff are inevitable and the Roman Catholics who think their head of the church is equivalent to the holy spirit.

    Starting to think I should build my own!

  • Chris Lee

    Hi Tommy,

    Correction here. The Pope is not the equivalent of the Holy Spirit. You’ve a big misconception here. Neither is the Holy Spirit the Vicar of Christ. To claim so is a complete disregard of the Holy Trinity – the very dogma that the early Church had fought so hard to define and which resulted in the crafting of the Nicene Creed that’s professed in Catholic Masses worldwide.

    Essentially, the Holy Trinity is the term employed to signify the central doctrine of the Christian religion — the truth that in the unity of the Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these Three Persons being truly distinct one from another.

    Your understanding of Catholicism is very skewed.

    In as much as you’ve a strong distaste for Catholicism, I ask that you judge Catholicism by the actual facts of what it preaches rather than from what you learn from your non-Catholic pastors. I don’t see what hardcore Protestants gain from being hateful and spiteful of the Catholic Church.

    Have you asked your fellow colleagues and friends as to why they opted for the Ordinariate instead of say, the Orthodox Churches? They should be in an Ordinariate now as it’s Easter. I’m sure they’ve not been deluded into joining an Ordinariate.

    Chris

  • Theodore Kinson

    let him be. he made his mind and thats all that matters. its now between him and God.
    a person in search don’t go bashing here and there.

    know that people/ organization/ church etc… “… is known by its own fruit”.

  • Tommy

    Let it be a mark of our witness the charges remain unchallenged and a mark of friendship our oaths of loyalty to our father in heaven remain over that of the work of his enemy.

  • Tommy

    Hi Chris, It is not so much what you say but what you havn’t that is most telling and I see you once again refer to the roman catholic church as the ‘catholic church’, an unfounded claim. All the same it is a pity you didn’t define what it is your pope refers to when he labels himself the vicar of Christ? Vicarius Filii Dei

    Most theologians would tell you by any terms of reference, the vicar of Christ can only refer to the Holy Spirit. For a definitive subscription to the word ‘ vicar’ [Definition: “vicar”—in the broadest sense means someone who is authorized to act as a substitute or agent for a superior / compare “vicarious”—serving in the place of someone else; assuming the position, place, or office of another person] Again, on what holy scripture does your Roman church outrageously claim its’ leader ‘to serve in place of’ Christ Jesus Or ‘assume his position’ or his ‘place’ or ‘office’?

    I understand what the Roman Catholics refer to by their version of trinity but that is not relevant to my questions and I think my ‘skewered understanding’ as you refer to it, is at least simplistic and independent of roman catholic indoctrination.

    I did pre-empt mu query advisng my search involved practising roman catholic clergy and it’s lay (this includes, presumably yourself) and the answers I received are either indirect and / or avoid the question completely which again includes yours.

    Obviously I would like to see not just my fellow travellers in the ordinariate but all those in search of Jesus’s ministry enrich there Christian faith but that doesn’t always mean the most apparent or easiest is always the right one, no matter how unpalatable some may find it.

  • Chris Lee

    Hi Tommy, you’re entitled to your right to criticize Catholicism. I’m terminating the chain of reply here as it’s no longer a constructive and sincere dialog.

  • Tommy

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your help and I hope my ‘questions’ have in some way strengthened your own pilgramage in the search for God.