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All former Anglicans can join ordinariate, says bishop

By on Thursday, 26 January 2012

Auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster

Auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster (Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

An English bishop has confirmed that Anglicans who were received into the Catholic Church years ago can join the personal ordinariate created by Benedict XVI last year.

The Pope established the world’s first personal ordinariate for groups of former Anglicans that wished to enter into full communion with Rome in January 2011. There was discussion at the time about whether Anglicans received before 2011 could also join the structure under the terms of Anglicanorum coetibus, the apostolic constitution describing the nature of personal ordinariates.

Writing in the January 2012 issue of The Newman, the journal of the Newman Association, Bishop Alan Hopes clarified that the ordinariate was open to all former Anglicans.

The bishop, who serves as an auxiliary in Westminster diocese and as episcopal delegate to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, wrote: “The personal ordinariate is for former Anglicans – but Anglicans who converted some years ago can, if they so wish, say that they would like to become members of the ordinariate. There is that dual possibility.

“The decision-making body is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. They are the people who will be the final arbiters in any question that might arise. There are points in the constitution [Anglicanorum coetibus] that will have to be fleshed out.”

The bishop, a former Anglican who was received into the Catholic Church in 1994, said that the long-term future of the ordinariate was unclear.

“As for the future, it may be God’s will that it should be the present structure, but maybe in 50 years’ time the ordinariate will become fully integrated into the Catholic Church. Who knows? We must wait and see,” he wrote.

  • Chiltern Hills 90210

    The Ordinariate IS fully integrated into the Catholic Church – that is entirely the point of it. The fact that it is independent of the territorial jurisdictions in which it exists means nothing more than the fact that Westminster and Southwark are distinct.  

    Mgr Newton recently wrote that there are a number of young men considering a vocation to the priesthood, by way of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Judging by the state of the Church of England, the youthfulness of many Ordinariate clergy (who are either retired priests or in their 30s-40s, generally), and this crop of priests-to-be, this rather dim view is much mistaken.  It is rather sad that Bishop Hopes – who himself fell foul of the lack of provision made in the 1990s – would not wish a better resolution to the Anglican-Catholic question than he himself had.

  • kiwiinamerica

    Say what?

    ANYONE, can join the Ordinariate, no?

    I’m a cradle Catholic but there is absolutely nothing to stop me from attending an Ordinariate Mass, as I understand it. It is fully Catholic in all respects. It’s just that its culture and liturgy draw heavily on its Anglican roots.

    This is a non story.

  • Victor

    Anyone can attend Ordinariate liturgies, yes, but just those that used to be Anglican can enroll in the parish register as Ordinariate MEMBERS. So it is very much of  story…

  • Anonymous

    Does this apply to former Anglicans domiciled in Catholic parishes *outside* England & Wales ?

    Have there been any complaints by the bishops that the Ordinariate will disrupt the normal pattern of membership of the Roman Rite CC in England & Wales ? IIRC, the spectre of a twofold Roman Rite, part using the Roman Missal of 1970, part using a revised BCP (or something similar) in the CC, was what bothered the bishops in the 1990s.

  • kiwiinamerica

    How does a “member” differ from a cradle Catholic who regularly attends Ordinariate liturgies? Does that mean they won’t send me a set of envelopes in which to enclose my weekly donation if I request one? That would be a first!

    If what you say is correct, then the Ordinariate will die after the first generation of Anglican converts. What about the children of former Anglicans? And their children? And their children’s children?  They’re not converts.

    I see the Ordinariate as similar to my local Melkite Rite Catholic Church. A different rite but fully Catholic and not exclusive in any way.

  • Christopher Mahon

    As a future member of an ordinariate in Canada, I was at first glance thrilled to see this headline in the Catholic Herald, affirming that “All former Anglicans can join ordinariate.” Upon reading the article, however, it seems that Bishop Hopes’ further comments are somewhat perplexing.

    “As for the future, it may be God’s will that it should be the present structure,” he began, “but maybe in 50 years’ time the ordinariate will become fully integrated into the Catholic Church. Who knows? We must wait and see.”

    This baffling statement, in showing little faith in the ordinariates as an enduring Catholic home where Anglicans and their patrimony may thrive and grow, can only have the negative consequence of discouraging those considering them. Are we to think that while we may keep our treasured patrimony now, a few years down the road we may lose it and be assimilated by force of neglect into a common uniformity?

    Furthermore, and even more shockingly, coming from a formerly Anglican bishop, it betrays a condescending attitude towards the indisputable ecclesiological reality of the ordinariates: for it is precisely in their “present structure” that they are already “fully integrated into the Catholic Church”.

    The bishop seems to have meant to imply that one day the Anglican ordinariates might be dissolved, submerged fully into the Roman Rite status quo ante, and robbed of their ritual culture, even if only through mere indifference.

    For those of us for whom the ordinariates are an answer to much prayer, it is disheartening to see this gracious and pastoral work of Pope Benedict XVI downplayed and written off by those who could do the most to support and encourage it.

  • Arthur Rusdell-Wilson

    All the evidence is that Bishop Hopes has the well-being of the Ordinariate close to his heart. It is therefore unfortunate that he ‘misspoke’ in writing of the possibility that the Ordinariate might in the future be ‘fully integrated’ with the Catholic Church. Of course, we cannot know what the future may bring. Perhaps, one day, the descendants of first generation Ordinariate members may value their patrimony so little that they consent to the Ordinariate being disolved and its priests and people being absorbed into the diocesan structure of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. We cannot know that, but that would be absorption, not integration. Fully integrated into the Catholic Church is what the Ordinariate already is! It is just as integrated as the English Benedictine Congregation, or other religious orders that are outside the diocesan structures.

  • Anonymous

    Because the ordinariate is NOT a different rite there is no real meaning to the idea of a lay person becoming a “member of the ordinariate”. There is no restriction upon, nor privilege granted to, a lay person just be cause they received the sacraments of initiation through the ordinariate. All Catholics are free to attend any ordinariate liturgy and all people who have been received into the Church through the ordinariate are full “members” of the Catholic Church.

    On the other hand former Anglican clergy who have been received into the Catholic Church might wish to join the ordinariate. Perhaps some of those who have been ordained as priests are going to ask to be excardinated from their dioceses so that they can join the ordinariate. This would be similar to the way that some diocesan priests join the Oratorians, and there ought to be nothing very controversial about it.

  • Jenny

    I was received into the Catholic church a year ago, why on earth should I want to join the Ordinariate? I am baffled as to why former anglicans should feel that they need to have a separate Mass every so often. I am so at peace being part of the Catholic communion and wouldn’t want to feel that I was any different from a “cradle” Catholic.

  • Guest

    By ‘fully integrated into’ Bishop Hopes really means ‘fully absorbed into’.

  • Tomcarty

    What is a ‘parish register’? It doesn’t sound very Catholic!

  • Susan

    Joining the ordinariate, as opposed to simply attending their masses, could make a difference.  For example, if one is a young man interested in the priesthood, and is in a diocese where the bishop is unfriendly to orthodox Catholics, the ordinariate could be an alternative, if one was a member (a former Anglican).

  • Gilbert

    Amen Christopher. That is exactly what I wanted to say.

  • Michaelanthony

    Quite. You are either a Catholic or you are not a Catholic. Why would you want to become a Catholic and then cling to the apron strings of Anglicanism. In many cases Anglicans have also turned their backs on former friends, the latter being so just because they have joined the Ordinariate of OLW. This has happened to a priest friend i have from Calgary. 

  • Robert Zacher

    Tomcarty, a parish register is simply a list of all the baptized, confirmed and or those who have been received into a parish community. Most all parish churches of all denominations, including the Roman Catholic church, maintain such lists of members.

    Before computers your name as a member of a parish church went down in a big book called a register. Churches, including Catholic churches, are required to keep registers of members, sacramental acts, finances and parish council  meetings. All of that, much of it now committed to databases, form what is called the parish records. Such records are kept in perpetuity as archives.