Our good friend Mr Shane Schaetzel sent us a Facebook message with an important link to the St Augustine of Canterbury Society. This is with regards to the Holy See giving the go ahead for the US Ordinariate. Anglicanorum Coetibus says that anyone wishing to join the Anglican Ordinariate must manifest their intention in writing to the appointed delegate responsible for this. Our friends from St Augustine posted examples of application form letters which could be found here.
The letters cover all sorts of situations which a person who has truly found his/her calling in Anglican Catholicism. You have letters for Episcopalians/Anglicans, non Catholic Christians, Roman Catholics who were former Anglicans, Roman Catholics who were former non Catholics but not from Anglicanism, and ta dahhhh (drumrolls), Roman Catholics who were Roman Catholics and still are Roman Catholics and who would want to be Roman Catholics again but with an Anglican flavour!
In the last category, belongs dear old me. I belong to the first generation of Novus Ordo babies. In fact Novus Ordo is as almost old as I am! The only sacrament I received in Latin was baptism when my Mother insisted that I get the sacrament from the Jesuits. I cannot at all remember a Tridentine Liturgy. Not even the 16 mm film my uncle took of the christening can help me recall. The damn film clip is as good as a silent movie! Then not long after that the New Rite of baptism was introduced. Growing up, I remember alternating attendance at Roman Rite Novus Ordo Masses and the 1928 BCP services. But almost immediately int he 1970s the 1928 services went the way of the Latin Mass for the more trendy 1979 American Prayer Book (whose Rite II Eucharist is not that different from the Roman Novus Ordo,)
The experience of my generation of Catholics was best and most hilariously told in the "Growing up Catholic" series of books. My best friend who belongs to a family of Episcopalians and Roman Catholics and also alternated between Novus Ordo and BCP as a boy, has all the books. The part in which the authors ask the two important questions
"Who do you wish were Catholic?"
Answer: "All Episcopalians"
"Who do you wish were not Catholic?"
Always had me in stitches!
It is said that Anglicanorum Coetibus and its norms were designed for TAC (which must be eternally lauded for having the courage to write our Pope), and since it wouldn't be polite to exclude the Anglican Communion and the other Continuing Anglican Churches from its coverage, it was understood that people from these communions can join the ordinariate. However the AC was never meant for Roman Catholics (after all, how could you join the Roman Church if you are already in the Roman Church?)
But it appears that vast majority of interest in joining the ordinariates are from Roman Catholics, followed by Christians of other denominations. While many Anglo-Catholics have signified their intention, their numbers are small compared to the Roman Catholics who want to join. Many Anglo-Catholics still waffle at the Papal offer, but many Roman Catholics will gladly have the Holy Waffle for breakfast! Now we will have to see how Rome will deal with this. Many priests (Anglican and Roman Catholic) have told me that it would make bad pastoral sense if Rome does not allow Roman Catholics to join the Anglican Ordinariate.
The Anglican Ordinariate being equivalent to a territorial diocese is a particular church. And as Pope John Paul II preached in his homily celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Church of Manila in 1996 " The Church is a living body. As any living body, she comes to a stage of maturity when she can give life to other Churches like herself" The Ordinariate will give life to other Churches, all in communion with the Church that gave life to her, the Church of Rome. By the same witness, the Ordinariate may in God's time bring back the Church of England and the churches that she gave life to (this I say includes TEC!) to communion with the Church that first gave life to her, the Church of Rome.
The Philippine Anglican Use group is an example of what Rome did not expect. Episcopalians, cradle Roman Catholics, Protestants and even at least one Orthodox Christian have signified interest in joining. And this in a country where the Anglican presence is small as the nation has an overwhelming Roman Catholic majority. This is what Father Longenecker calls the "Springfield Spirit". But will there be a Filipino Anglican Ordinariate?
I believe there will be. It may be beyond what AC mandates at present since it will bring in more than Anglicans. It all takes is the faith the size of a mustard seed!