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.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Formal announcement of the English Ordinariate

Readers can find the formal announcement on the English Ordinariate from the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales here. The announcement has a lot of information on what and what not to expect from the Ordinariate.  It is a sort of FAQ. But one thing is really notable.

The English and Welsh bishops do not use the phrase "Anglican Ordinariate" to describe the new ecclesial structure. The bishops use "Personal Ordinariate" and in the future it will be simply just referred to as "The Ordinariate".

Perhaps this is to take into consideration Anglican sensibilities and to avoid confusion. And this is what is called in American English "the 64 thousand dollar question"

Will members of the Ordinariate still be Anglicans?

The bishops conference answers with a "No". Members of the Ordinariate are Catholics.

The English Ordinariate will be the trial balloon. Other Ordinariates will be established in other countries. In these countries where there is no religious establishment, the Ordinariates may be known as the Anglican Ordinariate (Roman Catholic).


  1. I understand why some people care about whether the Anglican Ordinariates will be formally called "Anglican" but I am not one of them. To me, it is a perhaps important but still minor bureaucratic question. I am sure that whatever the formal name is, that whatever the bureaucrats call it, they will be widely known as "Anglican Ordinariate" because the fact that they are Anglican is the defining, distinguishing feature about them.

    Language is not afterall exact and scientific. Nearly all the words we use have several separate, sometimes competing, meanings. Take "yankee". As a noun, that word has five distinct meanings -- a rural New Englander, a New Englander, an old-money Bostonian, a Northerner and an American -- and yet I am not confused, unless the sentence is badly composed. Even "American" has different meanings referring to people from the USA or things from the Americas.

    It will be the same with the Ordinariates. Depending upon the context, depending upon the meaning needed, "anglican" will be applied to them or not. Regardless colloquially they are and will be known as "Anglican Ordinariates."

    By the way, I am going to let my inner history teacher out and say that technically it is "the $64,000 question" since the idiom comes from a 1950s version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire"

  2. Are those Catholic priest who are Anglican ordinariates have wives? If so is there any exemption to that?

  3. Most of the Anglican priests who will join the Ordinariate would be married men. The Catholic Church always has an exception to the general rule of celibacy in the Latin Rite. Under this rule, Anglican priests may be ordained to the Catholic priesthood as married men. While many will be ordained ,a few Anglican priests may not be. The Church will have to take into consideration their personal circumstances and their marriages. For example a divorced and remarried man cannot be ordained as a priest.

    Most of the Anglican priests will have to undergo a period of formation before Ordination. Some may be required to attend Seminary. It is up to the Ordinary to determine how this formation will go.

    In the Ordinariate, married men may be ordained but this will be on a case by case basis. The general discipline of the Latin rite will apply and that only celibate men will be ordained.

    An Anglican priest who is unmarried and if he is called to be a Catholic priest will have to take the vow of celibacy.

  4. I believe that the wives of the ex-CofE bishops participated in their husbands' ordination into the Catholic Church by bringing their liturgical priest garb up to them during the service. I will see if I can find the passages.

    The issue of celebrate priesthood is interesting. The Eastern Catholic churches have married priests but its not the Protestant model. Priests cannot marry; they must be married before becoming priests. In other words, there are no dating priests. And bishops are unmarried.

    The same rule will apply to the Ordinariates. Priests cannot marry but married men can become priests, and bishops cannot be married. However, the Ordinaries can be married. Ordinaries can be celebrate bishops or married or celebrate priests.


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