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.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Ordinariate as a new way being a church, problems and opportunities.

The Anglican Ordinariate is like a baby. In England it is an 11 month old baby and like a child entering its ones and twos, it will have to learn how to stand and to toddle and walk. Thus as the Catholic Herald observed, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is in its most crucial time in its history. We have to give laud to the Ordinary, the Rt Rev Msgr Keith Newton for being a good shepherd of the Ordinariate.  Many Ordinariate groups have been received with their pastors and they are sharing Roman Catholic churches in England but they have no buildings of their own. While the Archbishop of Canterbury was supportive of church sharing arrangements with Anglican congregations, other Anglican bishops were not supportive and Msgr Newton has made sure that conflicts with the Anglican church were avoided.

As of this writing, the Ordinariate doesn't still have a "principal church" which is essentially a cathedral. Several op ed writes like Damian Thompson have written about it. As the Herald notes, the principal church is needed in establishing the Ordinariate's identity as a church.  The Herald suggests that the Ordinariate has to do something and not wait for the Catholic bishops of England and Wales to act.

One major problem of the Ordinariate is financial. Just like with any Roman Catholic diocese, it is responsible for supporting its clergy. The main difference is that all of the Ordinariate's clergy were former Anglican priests many of which are married and have families (like Msgr Newton himself) or are retired and in need of pensions.  Many of the clergy have to be housed and have to be given dispensations to find secular jobs to support themselves after they have lost their Church of England entitlements. This should be an eye opener for Roman Catholics who want Rome to dispense with the vow of celibacy for all Latin Catholic priests.  If the Ordinariate whose laity are small are having problems, the wider Roman Church whose parish laity numbers in the thousands will have more problems on this matter. It is very likely that more Anglicans and Anglican oriented Roman Catholics will join and worship with the Ordinariate and thus the Ordinary will have to address the financial problem soon. The Ordinariate is not short of supporters who have contributed some "seed money" but they cannot be expected to contribute for the long run. The Ordinariate must be self financing.

We are just awaiting the erection of the American Ordinariate and this will be much of interest for Anglican Use Catholics, Roman Catholics and Episcopalians in the Philippines. However like in England, the American Ordinariate will face similar problems that what the English Ordinariate now faces. But there is a major difference. The Pastoral Provision allowed the establishment of Anglican Use personal parishes in the last 30 years with their married clergy. Some parishes have grown well like the Atonement parish in Texas. Thus there has been experience in making sure that the Anglican patrimony is conserved in the Roman Catholic Church.

In England as in the US unless the Anglican congregations own their church buildings by title, they are are unlikely to bring their church buildings with them when they leave the Episcopal Church since under that church's canons, the buildings and real estate are held in trust for the Episcopal diocese. Like the Atonement congregration, they will have to build their own churches. In one case the Episcopal diocese and the departing Episcopal congregation have reached an agreement on leasing their church building with an option to purchase. But this likely to be an exception rather than the rule.

The Ordinariate is thus a new way of being an old church. We say new since Anglicanorum coetibus is really a radical way of uniting a separated church. But those separated are returning to Tradition which while old is forever new. The Ordinariates need our prayers!

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments will be moderated at the sole discretion of "Anglican Use in the Philippines" Mere submission of the comment form does not guarantee comment will be posted. Comments will be moderated based on appropriate language, topic, subject matter and relevance. "Anglican Use in the Philippines" is not obligated to post comments that slander the Catholic and Anglican Churches.