Wed 22nd Oct 2014 | Last updated: Wed 22nd Oct 2014 at 12:00pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Latest News

Britain could have an Ordinariate by new year

By on Friday, 24 September 2010

High Mass for All Saints, celebrated at Pusey House last year            Photo: The Revd James Bradley

High Mass for All Saints, celebrated at Pusey House last year Photo: The Revd James Bradley

Britain could have an Ordinariate by the end of the year, it emerged today.

Sources say that the Rt Rev Keith Newton, the flying bishop of Richborough and the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, the flying Bishop of Ebbsfleet will take up the special canonical structure, which allows groups of Anglicans to come into full Communion with Rome without losing their Anglican identity, before the end of the calendar year.

Groups of Anglicans are already forming across the country in preparation for joining an ordinariate, according to the blog of the retired Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Rev Edwin Barnes.

In his October pastoral letter, Bishop Burnham wrote that ordinariate groups would likely be small congregations of thirty or so people.

Traditionally-minded Anglican clergy from the South of England were gathering at a Sacred Synod in Westminster today to discuss the future direction of the Church of England. The meeting was called by the Rt Rev John Ford, the Anglican Bishop of Plymouth. He invited the signatories of a 2008 open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, which expressed reservations over women bishops.

The meeting was being held only days after Pope Benedict told Catholic bishops in England and Wales and Scotland to see the offer made in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus as a “prophetic gesture”.

The apostolic constitution was a topic discussed at the Synod, according to Bishop Burnham.

In a statement Bishop Burnham said that Anglicanorum coetibus offered “Anglo-Catholics the way to full communion with the Catholic Church for which they worked and prayed for at least a century and it is a way in which they will be ‘united and not absorbed’.”

He said that discussions were under way about how the “vision of the Apostolic Constitution” could be implemented” and said the first people to take up the initiative would require vision and courage.

He quoted Pope Benedict’s speech to the bishops of England, Wales and Scotland, saying the Holy Father set his offer to Anglicans “firmly within the developing ecumenical dialogue” and said it was an “an exciting initiative for those for whom the vision of Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) of corporate union has shaped their thinking over recent years”.

The issue, he said, was “the ministry of the Pope himself, as the successor of St Peter. Anglicans who accept that ministry as it is presently exercised will want to respond warmly to the Apostolic Constitution”. He said: “Those who do not accept the ministry of the Pope or would want to see that ministry in different ways will not feel able to accept Anglicanorum Coetibus.”

Bishop Burnham added: “The decision to respond to the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution is not dependent on the decisions of the General Synod or on any particular issue of church order. The initiative should be judged on its own merit. It will require courage, and vision on the part of those who accept the invitation, particularly amongst the first to respond.

“Although there are few practical details at present in the public forum, discussions have already been taking place as to how the vision of the Apostolic Constitution can be implemented. It is expected that the first groups will be small congregations, energetically committed to mission and evangelism and serving the neighbourhood in which they are set.”

In the pastoral letter, the third in series about the ordinariate, Bishop Burnham described two reasons for taking up the offer made in Anglicanorum coetibus and said that it taking up the offer was not a matter to be considered lightly.

He wrote: “Joining the Ordinariate is not a matter to be considered lightly. Clergy who do so put their stipends and pensions, their homes and their security at risk. In some cases the response of laity will be so enthusiastic that whole congregations might be able to move together, with their parish priest. In most cases, the Ordinariate groups will be church-planting new congregations, congregations of perhaps only thirty or so people to start with, but thirty enthusiasts nonetheless.

“Such congregations of activists will probably grow rapidly, but there, of course, lies another risk. There are many clergy and laity who would love to possess the courage for this pioneering venture but they simply do not. Not everyone is at heart a risk-all pioneer. Not everyone can be: we all have real responsibilities to families to balance against the radical demand of the Gospel.”

There is some speculation that October 9, the feast of Blessed John Henry Newman, Britain’s most prominent Anglican convert to Catholicism, could be the date on which an ordinariate will be announced.

Pope Benedict XVI announced the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in November 2009. It came as a response to requests from prominent Anglo-Catholics and offered a new canonical structure, similar to military dioceses called personal ordinariates in order to allow groups of Anglicans to enter into communion with Rome without losing their Anglican identity. The personal ordinariate covers a geographical area but has its own leadership and answers to the Pope.

Bishop Alan Hopes, an auxiliary of Westminster Archdiocese and Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham are in charge of the Bishops’ conference commission dealing with Anglicans wanting to take up the ordinariate.

  • Doc Mugwump

    Unity! Amen!

  • Dave

    I am of a Syric Catholic (*Eastern Catholic) We are called Syric. We folow the teaching of the Catholic Church and the Pope. Why cann't the Anglican be the same? I would like to anderstand more of this

  • marlow4

    A very good question! Basically current Anglo-Catholics are in a position like the Syriac Orthodox: they are not in communion with Rome, but for those who accept the primacy of Peter, it can be hard to understand why. And yet, there are still more Syriac orthodox than Syriac catholics.

    The problem for Anglicans is that we still have no body that is in communion with Rome. We should, though. This ordinariate business is about bringing that about, once it is in place Anglicans will finally have an option to honour their traditions while still being in union with the one holy catholic and apostolic church that Jesus Christ founded.

  • marlow4

    God I hope this is true! I am currently in the process of individual conversion, but an actual ordinariate would offer so many new opportunities, both to help other Anglicans to take this step more easily, and to add a new dynamic and energy to Catholicism in England generally.

  • Ginger44

    Ironically, it appears we are already learning from our [still] separated brethren. Bishop Burhnam (title of respect),”…we all have real responsibilities to families to balance against the radical demand of the Gospel.” They are showing us the value of a celibate clergy.

  • Robert Williams

    As I accurately predicted the Ordinariate wll be in reality a tiny grouping of laity with a surplus of clerical converts….probably less than 150 persons. However men like Bishops Barnes Burnham and Mercer will be real gifts to the Catholic church. We will, in my opinion, get the best of the Anglo Catholic party.

  • His Prince Michael

    ALL, for The Greater Glory of GOD

  • SPQRatae

    I am sure you are right re: surplus of clerics. But I wouldn't be surprised if this is balanced by many existing Catholics, trapped in 'kumbaya' parishes, gratefully switching to a nearby 'Anglican tradition' Catholic church.

    I see the Holy Father's genius behind this. Just like extraordinary form Masses, 'Anglican tradition' Catholic churches will start to have a magnetic pull on sloppier ordinary form Mass parishes, forcing them to up their game.

  • Jhammer

    Absolutely! Having seen some of the new American changes to the ordinary form to be introduced next year I think I'd rather use the Anglican 1662 BCP! Another benefit of this approach is that it might help families with mixed RC and Anglican members. Bring it on!

  • john_of_hayling

    the article here and that published in today's Herald are illustrated with different pictures. The print version has a High Mass from the Most Holy Trinity Reading, where the celebrant appears to be the former Catholic Herald columnist and one-time vicar of the Most Holy Trinity Reading, Canon Brian Brindley. After one such service he was accosted by a lady who said that whilst everything was done beautifully, it was all too theatrical for her taste. His retort was, ' Madam, we are not theatrical; we are operatic'.

  • Suevarlow

    I hope and pray that the 09th October will be the day that the Ordinariate will be announced. For so long now we have had to continuing with our Christian work and duties within our own parishes, whilst containing a quite dignity within ourselves. My own excitement for this challenging opportunity to help build a future for generations to come, a future united at long last Peter, the Apostles and most importantly with Christ.

  • tradcat

    Nothing to stop individual anglicans converting to the catholic church. Newman did it. By the way, how about an “ordinariate” for the SSPX? They have always been loyal to the pope and orthodox catholic teaching.

  • Fathercrosbie

    Ordinariates are to be set up within the geographical confines of the local conference of bishops. This is cleary defined in the complimentary norms.The RC conference of bishops of England and Wales have no jurisidiction in Scotland. Unless Rome changes what has already between published there cannot be an Ordinariate for Britain as there is no RC conference of bishops for Britain.

  • Fathercrosbie

    For the record:

    Any Anglican priest in Scotland who wishes to explore the Ordinariate in that country should contact the Bishop of Paisley, Philip Tartaglia . Bishop Philip has been appointed by the Scottish conference of bishops to liaise with Anglicans interested in the Ordinariate. Scottish Anglican priests have no reason to contact anyone in England.

  • Denys

    Fathercrosbie hath no jurisdiction in this realm of Scotland.

  • Fathercrosbie

    Glad to say Denys that it isnt my jurisdiction that matters. For the record I am Scottish and I do look after an Anglican congregation in Scotland therefore I do have a legitimate interest in the matter. What is your interest in the matter ?