The American Ordinariate which is supposed to be erected by the fall of this year seems to be almost upon us, The Ordinariate which is expected to be named in honor of the Blessed Virgin's title of Our Lady of the Atonement will probably include all of the Pastoral Provision Anglican Use parishes. For those unfamiliar with the Pastoral Provision, this is an ecclesial structure that allowed former lay and clergy of the Episcopal Church in the USA to join the Catholic Church as groups and retain aspects of their Anglican/Episcopal liturgical expressions. These expressions were deemed "proper" to the Anglican tradition and gave these groups a distinct Anglican identity within the wider Latin Rite church in the USA. Pope John Paul II gave his approval to the provision in 1980.
The Provision became a sensation in the early 1980s for it made possible for former Episcopal priests who are married to be ordained as Catholic priests and be dispensed from the obligation of remaining celibate. In short the Provision took advantage of a dispensation from clerical celibacy that really wasn't new. The Popes have allowed married ministers of Protestant churches to be ordained and remain married. While a majority of former Episcopal clergy who were ordained were married, a minority were unmarried and they had to take the obligation of remaining celibate. A distinct liturgy and a Mass book called the Book of Divine Worship was authorized very soon after in 1983. The BDW incorporated and retained much from the Episcopal Church's Book of Common Prayer (1979 and 1928) while including the Eucharistic canon of the Roman Missal. Most noticeably, the BDW removed Archbishop Thomas Cranmer's Eucharistic canon which denied the Catholic belief on Transubstantiation and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The BDW was not free from criticisms from the Anglican and Roman Catholic sides.
The Pastoral Provision scheme resembles and differs from the Ordinariate in major ways. First like in the Ordinariate, the Pastoral Provisions parishes are "personal" parishes. However unlike in the Ordinariate, these parishes are under the jurisdiction of their Latin Rite ordinary and not under the Ordinariate's ordinary. If a new parish is to be erected, the Latin Rite bishop must give his assent. In the USA some bishops did not give their assent for Anglican Use parishes while some did. Most of the 7 Anglican Use parishes are in Texas. These parishes are one of the most vibrant in the American Catholic Church.
The Pastoral Provision really is centered on how Episcopal priests can be made Catholic priests. There was really no structure in place whether new ordinands to the priesthood from Anglican Use communities (all will be expected to be celibate) will continue to celebrate the sacraments in the Anglican Use. Lately even Lutheran ministers have taken advantage of the provision.
When the American Ordinariate is erected, if the Anglican Use parishes do join, they will be transferred from the jurisdiction of their Latin Rite bishops to the Ordinary. So far after Anglicanorum coetibus was promulgated, other US Episcopal/Anglican groups have made known their intention to join the Ordinariate. Since there is no Ordinariate yet, they are undergoing their catechetical formation under their respective Latin rite bishops.
Unlike in England, American Anglo-Catholics have a wider spectrum and diversity of acceptance of Catholic doctrine as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Also there is no Established Anglican Church in the USA. Aside from the Episcopal Church, there are a lot continuing Anglican Churches some of which have a Catholic orientation and some are more Evangelical. This has made the establishment of the American Ordinariate require a lot of time. And because of this diversity, it is expected that fewer groups will join the American Ordinariate than the case in England.
Widely tipped to be the first American Ordinary is one of the first priests ordained under the Pastoral Provision, Father Christopher Phillips. Fr Phillips has had wide experience in advancing and conserving the Anglican tradition in Catholicism and dealing with the Vatican bureaucracy. His efforts have been lauded by by the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in England and its senior clergy led by the Ordinary, the Rt Rev. Msgr Keith Newton.
The establishment of the American Ordinariate will demonstrate that Anglicanism in the Catholic Church is really Catholic and not just limited to one country, like England. This Ordinariate will also likely have an ecumenical charism. Also Anglican Use in the Philippines will be connected to this Ordinariate. It is foreseen that we in the Philippines by reasons of history will draw prayer support and affection from this Ordinariate, while we remain obedient to our Filipino diocesan bishops until a Filipino Ordinariate is erected when God at last wills it.
As a side note, if the American Ordinariate is named after Our Lady of Atonement, it then becomes linked under this title to the Catholic Diocese of Baguio in the Cordilleras whose patron and Cathedral is named under that title. This is significant for the Anglo Catholic presence in the Philippines was first planted by the Episcopal Church in this region 100 years ago. Is this a sign of things to come?