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.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Scottish Anglican Clergyman Ordained a Catholic Priest

On July 17, 2011, a Scottish Anglican clergyman was ordained a Catholic priest and this is of interest to me here in the Philippines.

As reported in the Scottish Catholic Observer, Fr. Len Black, formerly of St Michael of All Angels Episcopal Church in Inverness, was ordained at a mass presided over by Bishop Philip Tartaglia of Paisley.  Interestingly, Fr. Black was ordained into the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, not into his local territorial diocese.

This is interesting because Scotland is not part of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales,* the bishops' conference of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and usually the jurisdiction of an Anglican Personal Ordinariate is limited to the geographical area covered by its bishops' conference (e.g. England and Wales, the United States, the Philippines).

This is good news to our effort in the Philippines for two reasons.

First, this means that the bishops are being generous and charitable in the implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus.  Many critics of the Anglicanorum Coetibus said that established Catholic bishops wouldn't be.  I am thrilled that the bishops are proving the critics wrong.

Second, this means that we here in the Philippines if given permission can join an Anglican Ordinariate even if that Ordinariate is not under the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines but is rather part of the bishops' conference of Australia, the United States, or maybe even the United Kingdom.  A Filipino Anglican priest can become an Anglican Ordinariate priest and stay here in the Philippines ministering to Filipinos.  It is possible. This is precedent.  This is a possible road map to follow.

Of course, we should not get ahead of ourselves.  There is no prospect – yet – for such an ordination.  And there would be much work, prayer and discernment to do before that.  However now we know that such an outcome would be permissible under Anglicanorum Coetibus and acceptable to bishops and the Vatican.

For more information on the Ordinariate in Scotland, you can visit the Scottish Ordinariate group's webpage here: http://www.scotlandordinariate.com/

Here is the webpage for the group in Inverness, Scotland: http://www.ordinariate.org.uk/inverness.htm When you go to say hi to the Loch Ness Monster, stop by and join them for mass.

*Note: While the United Kingdom is a unitary, not a federal, state, the formerly separate Kingdoms of Scotland and of England (which includes Wales) still maintain many separate and distinct institutions.  Having different Catholic bishops' conferences is just one example. Other include having a different legal system and different established churches.

The two kingdoms were unified in a personal union in 1603 when Scottish King James VI also became King of England, James I.  The kingdoms were merged and became the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707.  The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created in 1807 with the addition of Ireland, which lasted until 1922 and Irish Independence.  In recent decades, during the time of Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Scottish Parliament was re-established, along with the Welsh Parliament, but despite this the United Kingdom remains a unitary state.

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