Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Anglican Ordinariate for England and Wales finally gets going

The Anglicans are finally here! The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have made the formal announcement that the Anglican Ordinariate will be established in January 2011 after the first Anglican bishops have been received to the Catholic Church and the decree establishing the Ordinariate has been issued by the Pope. The Anglo Catholic has all the links and details of the announcement.

The Ordinariate scheme (which never has been tried anywhere at anytime) is expected to have teething problems. However the Vatican and the CDF it seems is trying to minimize this by admitting first the Anglican bishops who will be quickly reordained as Catholic clergy at an unusual speed (within a month or so after reception).  Anglican clergy wishing to minister as Catholic priests on the average have to undergo "refresher" theological and seminary training for at least 2 years before they are ordained. However given the uniqueness of the Ordianriate scheme,  the other Anglican priests will be reordained before Pentecost 2011, and this gives only 2-3 months for their theological and seminary "refresher" courses!

It is expected that the first Ordinary will come from the ranks of the five Anglican bishops who will be received first. The Vatican has the pastoral aspects in mind since the whole idea of the Ordinariate was to bring worshiping Anglican communities as a whole and this includes their ministers.

The Pope in allowing this departure from usual practice has put full faith and trust on the five Anglican bishops who even if they cannot be raised to the Catholic episcopate in deference to ancient tradition, will continue to perform most of a bishop's functions. The Ordinariate has to be led by a member of the Anglican community that was received.

Despite speculation to the contrary, it was England that will have its first ordinariate. The scheme will probably pave the way for the reception of other non-Catholic churches in the Catholic Church and in the end, fulfilling an ecumenical promise.

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