Wednesday, 26 January 2011

We Are Still Far From That Unity for Which Christ Prayed: Papal Homily to Close Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Thanks to Zenit, here is a translation of the homily Benedict XVI delivered today at the closing vespers of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, held at the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls. Today's feast of the Conversion of St. Paul brought the prayer week to a close.
Brothers and Sisters,
Following the example of Jesus, who on the eve of his Passion prayed to the Father for his disciples "that they may all be one" (John 17:21), Christians continue to invoke incessantly from God the gift of this unity. This request is made more intense during the Week of Prayer, which ends today, when the Churches and ecclesial Communities meditate and pray together for the unity of all Christians.
This year the theme offered for our meditation was proposed by the Christian communities of Jerusalem, to which I would like to express by heartfelt gratitude, accompanied by the assurance of affection and prayer either on my part or on that of the whole of the Church. The Christians of the Holy City invite us to renew and reinforce our commitment for the re-establishment of full unity meditating on the model of life of the first disciples of Christ gathered in Jerusalem: "They -- we read in the Acts of the Apostles (and we heard it now) -- devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:42). This is the portrait of the early community, born in Jerusalem the same day of Pentecost, aroused by the preaching of the Apostle Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, addressed to all those who had arrived in the Holy City for the feast. A community not shut-in on itself, but, from its birth, catholic, universal, capable of embracing people of different languages and cultures, as the book of the Acts of the Apostles itself testifies. A community not founded on a pact among its members, or the simple sharing of a project or an ideal, but from profound communion with God, who revealed himself in his Son, from the encounter with Christ dead and resurrected.
In a brief summary, which ends the chapter that began with the account of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, the Evangelist Luke presents synthetically the life of this first community: how many had heard the word preached by Peter and were baptized, listened to the Word of God, transmitted by the Apostles; were happily together, taking charge of the necessary services and sharing freely and generously their material goods; celebrated the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, his mystery of Death and Resurrection, in the Eucharist, repeating the gesture of the breaking of the bread; they continually praised and thanked the Lord, invoking his help in their difficulties. This description, however, is not simply a memory of the past, and even less the presentation of an example to imitate or of an ideal goal to reach. It is rather the affirmation of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit, uniting all in Christ, who is the principle of the unity of the Church and makes believers one. 
The teaching of the Apostles, fraternal communion, the breaking of the bread and prayer are the concrete ways of life of the first Christian community of Jerusalem gathered by the action of the Holy Spirit but at the same time they constitute the essential features of all Christian communities, of all times and all places. In other words, we can also say that they represent the essential dimensions of the unity of the visible Body of the Church.
We must be grateful because, in the course of the last decades, the ecumenical movement, "arising from the impulse of the grace of the Holy Spirit" ("Unitatis Redintegratio," No. 1), has taken significant steps forward, which have made it possible to attain encouraging convergence and consent on varied points, developing between the Churches and the ecclesial communities relations of mutual esteem and respect, as well as of concrete collaboration in face of the challenges of the contemporary world. We are well aware, however, that we are still far from that unity for which Christ prayed and which we find reflected in the portrait of the first community of Jerusalem. The unity to which Christ, through his Spirit, calls the Church is not realized only on the plane of organizational structures, but is configured, at a much more profound level, as expressed "in the confession of only one faith, in the common celebration of divine worship and in the fraternal concord of the family of God" (ibid., No. 2).
The search for the re-establishment of unity among divided Christians cannot therefore be reduced to a recognition of the reciprocal differences and to the obtaining of a peaceful coexistence: What we long for is that unity for which Christ himself prayed and which by its nature is manifested in the communion of the faith, of the sacraments, of the ministry. The path toward this unity must be seen as a moral imperative, response to a precise call of the Lord. Because of this, the temptation must be overcome to resignation and pessimism, which is lack of trust in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our duty is to continue passionately on the path towards this goal with a serious and rigorous dialogue to deepen the common theological, liturgical and spiritual patrimony; with reciprocal knowledge, with the ecumenical formation of the new generations and, above all, with conversion of heart and prayer. In fact, as Vatican Council II declared, the "holy intention to reconcile all Christians in the unity of the one Church of Christ, surpasses human forces and talents" and, because of this, our hope is placed first of all "in the prayer of Christ for the Church, in the Father's love for us and in the power of the Holy Spirit" (ibid., No. 24). 
On this path for the search of full visible unity among all Christians we are accompanied and sustained by the Apostle Paul, of whom today we celebrate solemnly the feast of his conversion. He, before the Risen One appeared to him on the road to Damascus saying to him: "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting!" (Acts 9:5), was one of the most ferocious adversaries of the early Christian communities. The evangelist Luke describes Saul among those who approved the killing of Stephen, in the days when a violent persecution broke out against Christians of Jerusalem (cf. Acts 8:1). He left from the Holy City to extend the persecution of Christians to Syria and, after his conversion, he returned to be introduced to the Apostles of Barnabas, who made himself guarantor of the authenticity of his encounter with the Lord. From then on Paul was admitted not only as a member of the Church but also as preacher of the Gospel together with the other Apostles, having received, as them, the manifestation of the Risen Lord and the special call to be "chosen instrument" to carry his name before the Gentiles (cf. Acts 9:15).
In his long missionary journeys, Paul, journeying through different cities and regions, never forgot the bond of communion with the Church of Jerusalem. The collection in favor of Christians of that community, who, very soon, had need of being helped (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:1), occupied an important place in Paul's concerns, which he considered not only a work of charity, but the sign and the guarantee of the unity and the communion between the Churches founded by him and the early community of the Holy City, as sign of the one Church of Christ. 
In this climate of intense prayer, I wish to address my cordial greeting to all those present: to Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, archpriest of this Basilica, to Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to the other cardinals and brothers in the episcopate and priesthood, to the abbot and to the Benedictine monks of this ancient community, to men and women religious, to the laity that represent the entire diocesan community of Rome. In a special way, I would like to greet the brothers and sisters of the other Churches and ecclesial communities represented here this evening. Among them, it is particularly gratifying to me to address my greeting to the members of the International Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Ancient Eastern Churches, whose meeting will take place here in Rome in the next few days. Let us entrust to the Lord the good outcome of your meeting, so that it can represent a step forward toward the much hoped for unity. 
Dear brothers and sisters, trusting in the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church, we invoke, therefore, the gift of unity. United to Mary, who on the day of Pentecost was present in the Cenacle together with the Apostles, we turn to God source of every gift to have renewed for us today the miracle of Pentecost and, guided by the Holy Spirit, may all Christians re-establish full unity in Christ. Amen.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Benedict XVI: Praying for Christian Unity

Thanks to, here is the translation of the address Pope Benedict XVI gave on January 19th at the general audience in Paul VI Hall.

We are celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, in which all believers in Christ are invited to join in prayer to witness the profound bond that exists among them and to invoke the gift of full communion. Providential is the fact that prayer is placed at the center of the path to build unity: this reminds us, once again, that unity cannot be a simple product of human action; it is above all a gift of God, which entails growth in communion with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Vatican Council II states "[t]hese prayers in communion are, without a doubt, a very effective means to implore the grace of unity and constitute a genuine manifestation of the bonds with which Catholics remain united with the separated brethren: 'For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them' (Matthew18:20)" (Unitatis Redintegratio, No. 8). The path to visible unity among all Christians resides in prayer, because fundamentally we do not "build" unity, but it is "built" by God, it comes from Him, from the Trinitarian Mystery, from the unity of the Father with the Son in the dialogue of love which is the Holy Spirit and our ecumenical effort should be open to divine action, it must be a dail y invocation of God's help. The Church is His and not ours.

The theme chosen this year for the Week of Prayer makes reference to the experience of the early Christian community of Jerusalem, just as it is described in the Acts of the Apostles (we have heard the text): "And they devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:42). We must consider that already at the moment of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended on persons of different language and culture: this means that the Church embraces from the beginning people of different origins and, yet, precisely from these differences the Spirit creates one body. Pentecost, as the beginning of the Church, marks the enlargement of God's Covenant with all creatures, with all peoples at all times, so that the whole of creation will walk towards its true objective: to be a place of unity and love.

In the passage quoted from the Acts of the Apostles, four characteristics define the early Christian community of Jerusalem as a place of unity and love, and St. Luke does not wish to describe only an event of the past. He offers it to us as model, as norm for the present Church, because these four characteristics must always constitute the life of the Church. The first characteristic is to be united in listening to the teachings of the Apostles, in fraternal communion, in the breaking of the bread and in prayer. As I already mentioned, these four elements are still today the pillars of the life of every Christian community and constitute just one solid foundation on which to base our search for the visible unity of the Church.

First of all we have listening to the teaching of the Apostles, that is, listening to the testimony that they give of the mission, life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. It is what Paul calls simply the "Gospel." The first Christians received the Gospel from the mouth of the Apostles, they were united to hear it and to proclaim it, since the Gospel, as Saint Paul affirms, "is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith" (Romans 1:16). Still today, the community of believers recognizes, in the reference to the teaching of the Apostles, their own norm of faith: every effort made for the building of unity between Christians passes through the deepening of fidelity to the depositum fidei which the Apostles transmit to us. Firmness in the faith is the basis of our communion, it is the basis of Christian unity.

The second element is fraternal communion. In the times of the early Christian community, as also in our days, this is the most tangible expression, above all for the outside world, of the unity among the disciples of the Lord. We read in the Acts of the Apostles -- we have heard it -- that the first Christians held everything in common and that those who had properties and goods sold them to distribute to the needy (cf. Acts 2:44-45). This communion of their goods has found, in the history of the Church, new forms of expression. One of these, in particular, is that of the fraternal relationship and friendship built between Christians of different confessions. The history of the ecumenical movement is marked by difficulties and uncertainties, but it is also a history of fraternity, of cooperation and of human and spiritual communion, which has changed in a significant way the relations between believers in the Lord Jesus: we are all committed to continue on this path. Hence, the second element is communion which is, first of all, communion with God through faith, but communion with God creates communion among ourselves and is translated necessarily into the concrete communion of which the Acts of the Apostles speak, that is, full communion. No one should be hungry in the Christian community, no one should be poor: it is a fundamental obligation. Communion with God, made flesh in fraterna l communion, is translated, concretely, in social effort, in Christian charity, in justice.

Third element. Essential also in the life of the early community of Jerusalem was the moment of the breaking of the bread, in which the Lord himself makes himself present with the only sacrifice of the Cross in his giving himself completely for the life of his friends: "This is my Body given in sacrifice for you ... this is the chalice of my Blood ... shed for you." "The Church lives from the Eucharist. This truth does not express only a daily experience of faith, but encloses in synthesis the nucleus of the mystery of the Church" (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 1). Communion in Christ's sacrifice is the culmination of our union with God and therefore also represents the plenitude of the unity of the disciples of Christ, full communion. During this Week of Prayer for Unity the lament is particularly alive due to the impossibility of sha ring the same Eucharistic table, sign that we are still far from the realization of that unity for which Christ prayed. This painful experience, which confers a penitential dimension to our prayer, must become the motive for a still more generous effort, on the part of all, in order that, eliminating all the obstacles for full communion, the day will come in which it will be possible to gather around the table of the Lord, to break the Eucharistic bread together and all drink from the same chalice.

Finally, prayer, or as St. Luke says, "the prayers," is the fourth characteristic of the early Church of Jerusalem described in the book of the Acts of the Apostles. Prayer has always been the constant attitude of the disciples of Christ, what supports their daily lives in obedience to the will of God, as attested to us also by the words of the Apostle Paul, who writes to the Thessalonians in his first letter "rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in a ll circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Ephesians 6:18). Christian prayer, participation in Jesus' prayer is par excellence a filial experience, as attested to us in the words of the Our Father, prayer of the family -- the "we" of the children of God, of the brothers and sisters -- that speaks to a common Father. To be in an attitude of prayer, hence, implies being open to fraternity. Only in the "we" can we say the Our Father. Let us open ourselves to fraternity which stems from being children of the one heavenly Father and hence disposed to forgiveness and reconciliation.

Dear brothers and sisters, as disciples of the Lord we have a common responsibility to the world, we must carry out a common service: as the first Christian community of Jerusalem, beginning from what we already share, we must give a strong witness, founded spiritually and supported by reason, of the only God who has revealed Himself and who speaks to us in Christ, to be bearers of a message that directs and illumines the path of the man of our time, often deprived of clear and valid points of reference. Hence, it is important to grow each day in mutual love, committing ourselves to overcome those barriers that still exist among Christians; to feel that a true interior unity exists among all those who follow the Lord; to collaborate as much as possible, working together on the questions that are still open; and above all, to be conscious that in this itinerary the Lord must assist us, he still has to help us much because, without Him, alone, without "abiding in Him," we can do nothing (cf. John 15:5).

Dear friends, once again it is in prayer where we find ourselves gathered -- particularly during this week -- together with all those who confess their faith in Jesus Christ, Son of God: let us persevere in it, let us be people of prayer, imploring from God the gift of u nity, so that his plan of salvation and reconciliation will be fulfilled in the whole world.
Speaking to English-speaking pilgrims, he said
During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, all the Lord's followers are asked to implore the gift of full communion. This year's theme -- "They devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:42) -- invites us to reflect on four pillars of unity found in the life of the early Church. The first is fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed by the Apostles. The second is fraternal communion, a contemporary expression of which is seen in the growing ecumenical friendship among Christians. The third is the breaking of the bread; although the inability of separated Christians to share the same Eucharistic table is a reminder tha t we are still far from the unity which Christ wills for his disciples, it is also an incentive to greater efforts to remove every obstacle to that unity. Finally, prayer itself helps us realize that we are children of the one heavenly Father, called to forgiveness and reconciliation. During this Week, let us pray that all Christians will grow in fidelity to the Gospel, in fraternal unity and in missionary zeal, in order to draw all men and women into the saving unity of Christ's Church.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

In 2011, the materials, prayers and worship for the Week of Prayer have been devised by the Christians of Jerusalem, from the Orthodox Church, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Latin Catholic Patriarchate, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Armenian Orthodox Church, the Anglican Church and the Lutheran Church, not forgetting the Maronite, Coptic, Ethiopian, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic and various Evangelical communities that also exist in the City and the Holy Land.

Follow this link to the website of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland for the UK & Eire versions of the resources.

The theme chosen for 2011 is: "One in the apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer" (cf. Acts 2:42). The materials for the week of prayer and for the rest of 2011 have been jointly prepared by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches. Each day of the Week will have a different theme:
  • 18 January: The Church in Jerusalem
  • 19 January: Many Members in One Body
  • 20 January: Devotion to the Apostles' Teaching Unites Us
  • 21 January: Sharing, an Expression of Our Unity
  • 22 January: Breaking the Bread in Hope
  • 23 January: Empowered to Action in Prayer
  • 24 January: Living in Resurrection Faith
  • 25 January: Called for the Service of Reconciliation

As we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, 18 to 25 January, we give thanks to God for the vast contribution made by the Christians of Syriac and Arab ecclesial families to the formation of Christianity's tradition and to its future.

At this time, we also pray for the unity of all Christians with the Apostolic See of Rome, with a special focus on the forthcoming work of ARCIC III and the ongoing progress of Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue towards reconciliation and visisble unity. We pray too for the new Ordinariate of Our Lady Walsingham, that it may develop a rich and hopeful ecumenical charism, enriching the wider Catholic Church with the spiritual and ecclesial patrimony of the Anglican Church and its traditions, and equipping the Universal Church in full communion to be able to embrace Catholics and Anglicans in the unity of the apostolic faith. We also pray that Fr Keith Newton as he leads the Ordinariate will be blessed in his aim to use it as a means by which the Catholic Church in this country reaches out and works generously with the Church of England and the Church in Wales in the mission we share and in which Christ prays we be united.

And in the words of Father Paul Couturier, who reanimated the Week of Prayer in the 1930s and caused it to be the universal Church's celebration of faith, hope and love for visible unity and communion that we know today, we pray for the unity of all humanity in the charity and truth of Christ.

Retaining Anglican Traditions in the Roman Catholic Church: a General Model for Christian Ecumenism?

18 January 2011
11.15am, Room 2E, Chesham Building, Strand Campus
Dr Peter Lüning
Johann-Adam-Möhler Institut für Ökumenik

Retaining Anglican Traditions in the Roman Catholic Church: Could this Serve as a General Model for Christian Ecumenism? A Critical Response

Animarum salus Ecclesiae suprema lex

A copy of the decree of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith erection the Personal Ordinariate can be downloaded here.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

First Priests of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

As Archbishop Vincent Nichols remarked at the Mass of Ordination, this is what history looks like as it is being made. Fathers John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton, once bishops of the Church of England, were ordained to the order of presbyter and thus to the priesthood of the Catholic Church in Westminster Cathedral, to create a new configuration of the Church in England & Wales in its mission to serve the truth about Jesus Christ and the unity of his people.

At 10 am, the Cathedral was already half full. In the long corridor linking the Sacristy to the Clergy House and Archbishop's House, nearly 100 other priests and seminarians had begun to gather, some old friends and colleagues of the candidates, and just as many who were priests of Westminster, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Brentwood and other dioceses, as well as from religious orders, including Abbot Aidan Bellenger OSB of Downside, Fr Aidan Nichols OP and Fr Christopher Jamison OSB, appropriately the director of the National Office for Vocation. There were also over 20 seminarians from Allen Hall. Two days earlier they had saluted the newly ordained deacons with the song Ad Multos Annos, traditionally sung in recollection of those leaving the College at Douai, Allen Hall's ancestor, on their way back to England in penal times, to face danger and even martyrdom. To those who witnessed this moment on the preceding Thursday, it was a most moving sign of incorporation not only into the priestly ministry of the Catholic Church worldwide, but into everything that being a Roman Catholic priest has meant in the history and spiritual development of England's national and religious life. As the students sang Vivat!, deacons John, Andrew and Keith entered into, and were embraced by, a rich inheritance that is truly costly.

The great Liturgy (follow the link to see the Diocese of Westminster's photo record of the day) began at 1030 am with the Processional Hymn, Thy hand, O God has guided thy flock from age to age, by Edward Hayes Plumptre, the 19th century Anglican classical and scriptural scholar, Dean of Wells and biographer of the fellow hymnographer and Non-Juror, Bishop Thomas Ken. Phrase after phrase was apt: "Through many a scene of strife" ... "the faithful few fought bravely, to guard the nation's life" ... "And we, shall we be faithless ... not so, in God's deep counsels some better thing is stored". And so it proved to be. After the Introit Sacerdotes Dei and the Greeting, the Archbishop asked us to sit, remarking that even though there were so many people to greet there was a message even more welcome: thus he introduced the Message from Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, announcing the Decree erecting the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, under the protection of the Mother of God and the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman. (Here is the report from the Vatican Information Service.)

An interesting remark in the letter mentioned that Archbishop Nichols was representing Cardinal Levada, and thus not only acting as President of the Bishops' Conference and in the customary primatial role of the Archbishop of Westminster. Had the Cardinal been able to be present, it is he who would have presided at the ordinations in the name of the Apostolic See. For clearly the Ordinariate is not a department of the diocese of Westminster, nor a suffragan see, nor an initiative subject to the Bishops' Conference: it is directly subject to the Apostolic See of Rome. Of course, the new Ordinary is by virtue of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus a full member of the Bishops' Conference; and there to support and participate in the ordination of the first priests of the Ordinariate were Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood and Bishop Alan Hopes, Episcopal Delegate of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales for the Ordinariate. Present too were Mgr Vincent Brady from the Apostolic Nunciature and Mgr Marcus Stock, general secretary of the Bishops' Conference. From the outset the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is thus part of the the endeavour of the universal Church in the eyes of the Apostolic See and integral to the life and work of the Church in the local dioceses of England & Wales.

When the name of the Ordinariate was announced there was a gasp of delight and satisfaction. The news had started to emerge after the diaconal ordinations on the preceding Thursday. The three candidates had needed to swear two sets of oaths, the first to the Archbishop of Westminster, in whose diocese Bishop Alan Hopes was ordaining them as Episcopal Delegate and in the name of the Holy Father, and the second to the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. including, as John Broadhurst observed at the reception, the new Ordinary. Thus, when the Reverend Keith Newton's name was at last  publicly confirmed as the Ordinary on Saturday, there was further palpable pleasure and satisfaction.

After the Confession, the magnificent Choir of Westminster Cathedral sang the Kyrie and Gloria in Excelsis from Victoria's Missa O Magnum Mysterium. The Epistle was Ephesians 4.1-7, 11-13. There was no Gradual; and the Alleluia Tu es sacerdos preceded the Gospel from John 20.19-23.

When the Rite of Ordination began, the three men were called forward from the nave and came to stand before the Archbishop seated before the High Altar. The Ordinariate having no Vicar General or other official, it fell to the Episopal Delegate of the Bishops' Conference, Bishop Alan Hopes, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and Titular Bishop of Cuncacestre (Chester-le-Street), to present the candidates for priesthood to the Archbishop. There was an insertion into the wording of Bishop Alan's presentation (in bold italics):

After inquiry among the people of Christ and upon recommendation of those concerned with their training and with the permission of the Holy See, I testify that they have been found worthy.
The text of the Archbishop's homily can be downloaded here. Or listen to it here.

After the promise of obedience to "your Ordinary" (also made by Keith Newton), there was no insertion in the rite of that introduction and prayer sanctioned by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and used by Cardinal Hume to ordain former Anglican clergy in the 1990s. There had been some dismay expressed about this at the diaconal ordinations, but in fact Archbishop Nichols in his homily had warmly spoken of the contribution and and generous spirit of the Church of England in recognising the integrity of the three in their decision and onward journey, at the same time as recognising their distinguished ministry and episcopal service in the life of the Anglican Church. At the same time, he reaffirmed the Catholic Church's whole-hearted commitment to the visible unity of Christ's people in the hope that, according to the words of the Holy Father, the Ordinariate would serve this end in a "prophetic" way. Some of the priests afterwards discussed the omission of the prayer used previously to lead into the Litany of the Saints, but we felt that everything it had said was expressed far more fully by what Archbishop Nichols had said in his homily. We also felt, even those over whom that prayer had been said years before, that it was important at the ordination of the first priests of this almost radically new structure in the Church in this country that the three be ordained - and be seen to be ordained - according to the same rites of the Church as any other Roman Catholic priests - no more no less.

The three candidates for Catholic priesthood prostrated themselves and the Litany of the Saints was prayed. Someone said the congregation was mainly male. Perhaps it is that we have become a little used to not hearing so many men singing in Church, but the voices of women were no less strong and insistent at this solemn moment of prayer for three much loved pastors.

The solemn silence as first the Archbishop laid hands, almost visibly bringing down the Holy Spirit in his power upon Keith, then Andrew, then John, followed by Bishop Alan, Archbishop Longley, Bishop McMahon, and then the 100 priests was very long and moving. Nothing stirred; no one spoke; no mobile phones went off. If they did, no one noticed. One of the beautiful things about divine Liturgy is that it is full of moments, but in the fulness of time you lose track of time. After the Archbishop spoke the Prayer of Ordination, someone in the north of the nave loudly promoted a round of applause; but as we were in the middle of the Rite of Ordination few of the clergy joined in; and we proceeded with the investiture of the priestly stole and chasuble, conveyed up to the sanctuary by the three new priests's wives, Gill Newton, Judi Broadhurst and Cathy Burnham.

The hymn Veni Creator was interrupted for the Archbishop to anoint the newly invested priests and, when it was completed, it was the three nuns received alongside the three former bishops on New Year's Day who presented the gifts of the paten holding the bread and the chalice containing the wine mixed with water for the Archbishop to entrust to the three new priests in turn, as they all prepared to concelebrate the eucharistic sacrifice.

At this point, the Archbishop descended from before the High Altar and greeted each new priest with the Kiss of Peace. The other bishops followed suit and then the priests. Again there was silence and expectation as this proceeded, but now the atmosphere was more relaxed and the sense of prayer was of gladness and gratitude to God, something we priests as we exchanged the peace in turn with the new Fathers Keith, John and Andrew, our brothers in the service of the Body of Christ, were deeply aware of coming from the People.

For the Offertory chant, Charles Villiers Stanford's Beati quorum via integra est was sung, another admirable piece of the Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony now shared by the Catholic Church. Someone remarked that this motet was a tribute to the Oxford Movement and its appreciation of Latin Christianity, but Stanford was a convinced Church of Ireland Protestant and he had written the piece not for an Anglo-Catholic celebration but mindful of the Latin services of the Prayer Book in use in the university not of Oxford, but of Cambridge. It was published in 1905, 12 years after he had stepped down as Organist and Master of the Choristers at Trinity College, Cambridge, where for 19 years he revolutionised and just about re-invented choral singing in the liturgy of the Church of England.

The three new priests concelebrated with the Archbishop using the Roman Canon; the fourth concelebrant was Bishop Alan Hopes, Episcopal Delegate to the Ordinariate from the Bishops' Conference. The Sanctus was from Mass VIII, Missa de Angelis. Agnus Dei  was taken from the Missa O Magnum Mysterium by Tomas Luis da Victoria. The Communion Motet was Edward Elgar's Ave Verum Corpus, followed by the chant Ego vos elegi and the hymn - this time an English hymn from the Catholic spiritual patrimony - Henri F. Hémy's O Bread of Heaven.

Many of the priests asked to distibute the Holy Communion remarked afterwards that never in their experience had there been such a volume of people present, only a fraction of whom received the Sacrament. Fr Peter Geldard estimated afterwards that 90% of those who came to him asked for a blessing. Evidently a very large proportion of the 1500 present were Anglicans discerning their own personal journeys ahead.

Following the prayer after Communion, the Archbishop asked us to congratulate the new priests, having completed their ordination with the celebration of the Eucharist, and there was sustained and loud applause. After his pontifical blessing, the Archbishop went up to kiss the Altar and then immediately descended, removed his mitre and knelt before the three new priests to receive their first blessings as Catholic priests. This time the order was not alphabetical; Fr Keith as the new Ordinary went first.

Then the procession of the seminarians, the Metropolitan of the British Orthodox Church of the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria, Abba Seraphim as an ecumenical representative (and himself a former Anglican), followed by the deacons, priests and bishops left to Blessed John Henry Newman's Praise to the Holiest in the Height. Surely, the tune for this great hymn in the Anglican patrimony in full communion with the Catholic Church is now no longer Richmond, J.B. Dykes' Gerontius or Somervell's Chorus Angelorum, but definitively Billing by Richard Runciman Terry, Organist of Westminster Cathedral 1901-1924.

After the hymn, as the Procession was still making its way through the Cathedral to the Final Movement of Louis Vierne's First Organ Symphony, a deep cry of acclamation and cheering went up, the like of which I have never heard in Church before. Some thought it unseemly, but others saw it was the unbridled joy and hope of the people present. Afterwards, the Archbishop, who went to join the people in the Piazza outside, remarked upon how "jubilant" they were.

In the sacristy, the 100 priests awaited the return of their new brethren and there were several minutes of sustained applause. Bishop Alan, said "We bow to the Cross", then "Prosit", and it was done. Many of the servers, seminarians and clergy took turns to kneel before the new priests to receive their blessings, led by Bishop Alan and Archbishop Bernard.

In the reception in Archbishop's House, Archbishop Vincent once again warmly congratulated the three new Catholic priests and remarked on the historic and momentous excitement of the occasion. It was not only about three new priests God had given to his Church to do a new thing, but about the aspiration and joy of the people who were still gathered outside. In responding, Father Keith thanked Archbishop Nichols, Bishop Hopes and Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Someone asked, "Who was the Ordinary you swore obedience to?" "The Pope," said Fr Keith. And thus in paying tribute to the trust of the Holy Father in Frs Keith, John and Andrew, we all raised a glass in honour of Pope Benedict.

Ad Multos Annos - Vivat Pater Keith, Vivat Pater Ioannes, Vivat Pater Andreas.

After the Reception, Fr Geldard took me to the Library in Archbishop's House, to show me the chair in which he had sat opposite Cardinal Hume, two decades before, and with leaders of the League at the time opened up the question of a structure for Anglicans desiring to be Catholics to belong to the Catholic Church in a corporate structure for full communion. We felt deeply aware of how all the work and thinking then, the 500 or so priests who have been ordained in the Catholic Church from an Anglican background in the 1990s and since, the prayer and imagination of Cardinal Hume, the then Bishop Nichols and others at the time and others after - and the vigilance of the then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict - and its issue in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, had led to this great day.

Fr Mark Woodruff

Here is the Statement from Father Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

Here is the Statement of the Bishops' Conference of England & Wales

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

Today it was officially announced that the dedication of the first Ordinariate to be established under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus will be placed under the protection of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The title has been chosen on the direct initiative of the Apostolic See of Rome at the Congregation for the Doctine of the Faith.

In addition the patron of the Ordinariate will be Blessed John Henry Newman.

We warmly congratulate Father John Broadhurst, Father Andrew Burnham and Father Keith Newton on their ordination in the Catholic Church as priests and the Catholic League extends to Monsignor Newton not only our congratulations upon his appointment by the Holy Father as the Ordinary, it also offers the promise of our prayers for him and the Ordinariate, and our support and assistance in the work that lies ahead.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Prayer to Our Lady of Walsingham in thanksgiving for the foundation of the Ordinariate in England, the Dowry of Mary

O Mary, recall the solemn moment when Jesus, your divine Son, dying on the Cross, confided us to your maternal care.

You are ever our Mother; we desire ever to remain your devout children. Let us therefore feel the effects of your powerful intercession with Jesus Christ.

Make your Name again glorious in this place once renowned throughout our land by your visits, favours and many miracles.

Pray, O holy Mother of God, for the conversion of England, restoration of the sick, consolation for the afflicted, repentance of sinners, peace to the departed.

O blessed Mary, Mother of God,
Our Lady of Walsingham,
intercede for us.

V. Our Lady of Reconciliation
R. Pray for us.

Pope Benedict XVI will beatify Pope John Paul II on the 1st May 2011

Vatican Information Services today announces:

On 1 May, the second Sunday of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday, Benedict XVI will preside at the rite of beatification for John Paul II in the Vatican.

According to a note released by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, "today 24 January, Benedict XVI, during an audience granted to Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, authorised the dicastery to promulgate the decree of the miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Servant of God John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla). This concludes the process which precedes the rite of beatification.

"It is well known that, by pontifical dispensation, his cause began before the end of the five-year period which the current norms stipulate must pass following the death of a Servant of God. This provision was solicited by the great fame of sanctity which Pope John Paul II enjoyed during his life, in his death and after his death. In all other ways, the normal canonical dispositions concerning causes of beatification and canonisation were observed in full.

"Between June 2005 and April 2007 the principal diocesan investigation was held in Rome, accompanied by secondary investigations in various other dioceses, on his life, virtues, fame of sanctity and miracles. The juridical validity of these canonical processes was recognised by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints with a decree of 4 May 2007. In June 2009, having examined the relative 'Positio', nine of the dicastery's theological consultors expressed their positive judgement concerning the heroic nature of the virtues of the Servant of God. The following November, in keeping with the usual procedure, the 'Positio' was submitted for the judgement of the cardinals and bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who gave their approval.

"On 19 December 2009, Benedict XVI authorised the promulgation of the decree on John Paul II's heroic virtues.

"With a view to the beatification of the Venerable Servant of God, the postulator of the cause invited the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to examine the recovery from Parkinson's disease of Sr. Marie Simon Pierre Normand, a religious of the 'Institut des Petites Soeurs des Maternites Catholiques'.

"As is customary, the voluminous acts of the regularly-instituted canonical investigation, along with detailed reports from medical and legal experts, were submitted for scientific examination by the medical consultors of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 21 October 2010. The experts of the congregation, having studied the depositions and the entire documentation with their customary scrupulousness, expressed their agreement concerning the scientifically inexplicable nature of the healing. On 14 December the theological consultors, having examined the conclusions reached by the medical experts, undertook a theological evaluation of the case and unanimously recognised the unicity, antecedence and choral nature of the invocation made to Servant of God John Paul II, whose intercession was effective in this prodigious healing.

"Finally, on 11 January 2011 the ordinary session of the cardinals and bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints took place. They expressed their unanimous approval, believing the recovery of Sr. Marie Simon Pierre to be miraculous, having been achieved by God in a scientifically inexplicable manner following the intercession of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, trustingly invoked both by Sr. Simon herself and by many other faithful".

Coming in the midst of the inaugural ordinations of the Ordinariate, this announcement has special resonance in England. Not only did Pope John Paul II's visit in 1982 lay the foundations for closer diplomatic ties between the United Kingdom and the Holy See in the interests of international development, justice, health and peace, it led to the engagement nearly three decades later between Pope Benedict and British civil society, in his remarkable analysis of faith and reason, religion and society, recalling the teaching of the soon to be beatified Cardinal Newman, and the enduring suitability of the principles of Catholic social teaching, during his visit in September 2010. Furthermore Pope John Paul's visit marked a high point in Anglican-Catholic relations and the vitality of the ARCIC process at the time. The warm relations between Archbishop Runcie and the Pope enabled an honest dialogue over the difficult and emerging new conditions within Anglicanism worldwide, mainly focussed on the case for admitting women to the ordained ministry ni the years ahead, while at the same time maintaining that the driving force to Anglican-Roman Catholic ecumenism was the hope for the restoration of visible. organic unity throught theological dialogue, closer relationship in service and mission and the personal and spiritual quality to deepening friendships. Because of his profound attachment to the unifying power of the sheer attraction of truth (his great 10th Encyclical was called Veritatis Splendor), its binding force, he was convinced that reconciliation could be achieved through reaching towards theological agreement; and an abiding passion of his papacy was the Unity of Christians, to which his 1995 encyclical "On Commitment to Ecumenism", Ut Unum Sint, and his his Apostolic Letter in the same year on Catholic-Orthodox reapprochement, Orientale Lumen, bear witness. In 1988, following the Lambeth Conference and with the drawing up of legislation in the Anglican General Synod to enable the new development, Pope John Paul made an impassioned personal appeal to Archbishop Runcie to preserve commitment to ARCIC and Catholic-Anglican reconciliation along the lines on which both had already agreed to proceed together. He spoke of “new obstacles in the way of reconciliation between Catholics and Anglicans” and of the danger of how they might "block the path to the mutual recognition of ministries.” He appealed, not as the Pope but personally as one brother Christian leader to another, not to endanger the process which had already been bringing about significant convergence. After all, in the aftermath of the visit of the Pope to Canterbury Cathedral, our President, Fr Michael Rear, wrote an book, influential at the time, on the momentum towards unity that then seemed imminent. It was called, One Step More. When, after the 1988 letter, and the process of legislation led to the decision in 1992 to proceed with provisions to ordain women to the Anglican priesthood, it was clear that Anglicanism had adopted a course in which the mutual recognition of ministries could not be achieved. From this point on, dialogue continued with no diminution of friendship and belief in the essential principle of visible unity central to official relations as well as ecumenical contacts and collaborations locally. But it became ever clearer, with two diverging views of truth, the Church's teaching office and the nature of theology now, that "visible, organic unity" was not the vision shared by Anglicans and the Catholic Church any longer. A new model for ecumenism arose, allowing for maintained separation, "reconciled diversity", and intercommunion without, however, an underlying unity in the shared apprehension of truth.

In Pope Benedict's address to the ecumenical gathering for Evening Prayer at Westminster Abbey in September 2010, he called for a convincing account of the Risen Christ founded on nothing other than unity in the apostolic faith. The appeal was warmly received in a most beautiful and inspiring liturgy. But observing  that Christians in England are not united in their proclamation and their approach to theological truth has now fewer shared foundations, whether they are described as Biblical, dogmatic or confessional, cast a light on a Church that is sounding an uncertain note about Christ and his gospel; and its pursuit of separations continues to rely on keeping up those barriers to reconciliation new to Pope John Paul but now a familiar feature of the ecumenical landscape at a time when the evangelisation of Europe relies on Christians to capture its imagination and its soul once more.

So Pope John Paul's veneration for the paramount splendour of the truth incarnate in Jesus the Word, and his determined commitment to the fullness of communion among all Christians - in the Spirit, in mind and in the Body - remain timely prophecies to all the communities in the Church of Christ in England at this moment in its history.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Ordinariate Imminent

We warmly congratulate the Revd John Broadhurst, the Revd Andrew Burnham and the Revd Keith Newton on their ordination to serve in the sacred order of deacons in the Catholic Church today, 13 January 2011, at Allen Hall. The three who will form the founding clergy of the Ordinariate, were presented for ordination to Bishop Alan Hopes by Mgr Seamus O'Boyle, Vicar General of the Diocese of Westminster, with the insertion of the words 'with the approval of the Holy See.'
The prayer created by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship giving thanks for previous ordained Anglican ministry used in the past by Cardinal Hume was not employed.

Because the Ordinariate is not yet formally announced, the deacons are not 'acephalous clerics' nor of the diocese of Westminster. They were ordained under the direct authority of the Pope, the Archbishop of Westminster through Bishop Hopes acting on his behalf.

At the end of the Mass, the Bishop offered a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing over Mrs Broadhurst, Mrs Burnham and Mrs Newton.

Allen Hall generously arranged a reception afterwards, kindly staffed by students of the seminary. On behalf of the three newly ordained, the Revd Andrew Burnham proposed a toast in gratitude to the Seminary staff and students, Fr Tony Philpott, who had preached a fine homily on the diaconate and its grace of service as the core of all the working of the sacrament of Order, the support of the 16 concelebrating priests (many of whom were former Anglicans), the three deacons from the Seminary and the important role of encouragement and guidance played by Bishop Alan Hopes in a journey that has really been in process for six years. In response, Bishop Alan congratulated the newly ordained and proposed a toast to the Holy Father Pope Benedict, whose prophetic vision had brought about this new and hopeful opportunity.

In perhaps the most telling moment of the evening, Fr Roger Taylor, the Vice Rector, led the Seminary in singing Ad Multos Annos, traditionally sung to bid farewell to those leaving its precursor at Douai to go to their new ministry in penal times, when the prospect of danger and martyrdom were real. While the challenges and sacrifices today may be of a different nature, it was a poignant reminder of the Catholic Church's historic witness to the apostolic faith, the unity of the Church, the Mass and loyalty to the Apostolic See of Rome into which the three were now entering as servants and participants, and a moving sign that they were warmly embraced in the fellowship of the Church's ministry today and made part of a precious inheritance.

This picture taken during the Litany of the Saints is reproduced from the Ordinariate Watch blogsite with grateful ackonwledgement to our friends there.

The Portal is Launched

The Portal, which will be the monthly magazine supporting the founding of the Ordinariate and possibly its future "diocesan journal",has now been launched. The Catholic League is delighted to eb a contributor to its funds and, we hope, its success and effectiveness.

Here is the link to read the current issue.

Here is the link to sign up for notification of forthcoming editions.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


A Statement from the General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Mgr Marcus Stock, 11 January 2011

On or before 15 January 2011, it is expected that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will publish a Decree which will formally establish a ‘Personal Ordinariate’ in England and Wales (from here on referred to as ‘the Ordinariate’) for groups of Anglican faithful and their clergy who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

The establishment of this Ordinariate will be the first fruit of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, issued by Pope Benedict XVI on 4 November 2009. The Constitution and the Complementary Norms published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith provide the essential norms which will enable members of the Ordinariate to preserve within the Catholic Church those elements of Anglican ecclesial prayer, liturgy and pastoral practice (patrimony) that are concordant with Catholic teaching and which have nurtured and nourished their Christian faith and life.

In time, it is expected that further Ordinariates will be established in other parts of the world to meet the desire of those Anglican communities who in a similar way seek to be united in communion with the Successor of St Peter.

As a new structure within the Catholic Church, there will be many ‘frequently asked questions’ about the Ordinariate. Some of these are:

Why did Pope Benedict XVI publish Anglicanorum coetibus?
As the Holy Father stated when he published Anglicanorum coetibus, he was responding to petitions received “repeatedly and insistently” by him from groups of Anglicans wishing “to be received into full communion individually as well as corporately” with the Catholic Church.

During his address to the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales at Oscott last September, Pope Benedict was therefore keen to stress that the Apostolic Constitution “should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all.”
In this way, the establishment of the Ordinariate is clearly intended to serve the wider and unchanging aim of the full visible unity between the Catholic Church and the members of the Anglican Communion.

Will members of the Ordinariate still be Anglicans?
No. Members of the Ordinariate will be Catholics. Their decision is to leave the Anglican Communion and come into the Catholic Church, in full communion with the Pope.

The central purpose of Anglicanorum coetibus is “to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared”. Members of the Ordinariate will bring with them, into full communion with the Catholic Church in all its diversity and richness of liturgical rites and traditions, some aspects their own Anglican patrimony and culture.

It is recognised that the term Anglican patrimony is difficult to define but it would include many of the spiritual writings, prayers, hymnody, and pastoral practices distinctive to the Anglican tradition which have sustained the faith and longing of many Anglican faithful for that very unity for which Christ prayed.

The Ordinariate will then bring a mutual enrichment and exchange of gifts, in an authentic and visible form of full communion, between those baptised and nurtured in Anglicanism and the Catholic Church.

Do all Anglicans who wish to become Catholics now have to be members of the Ordinariate?
No. Any individual former Anglican who wishes to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church, may do so without becoming a registered member of the Ordinariate.

As stated above, the Ordinariate is being established essentially for groups of former Anglican faithful and their clergy who wish to maintain as members of the Catholic Church, within the canonically approved and structured ecclesial life of the Ordinariate, those aspects of their Anglican spiritual, liturgical and pastoral tradition which are recognised as authentic by the Catholic Church.

What is the ‘Ordinariate’ then?
The Ordinariate will be a specific ecclesiastical jurisdiction which is similar to a diocese and will be led by its own ‘Ordinary’ (see below) who will be a bishop or priest. However, unlike a diocese its membership will be on a ‘personal’ rather than a ‘territorial’ basis; that is, no matter where a member of the Ordinariate lives within England and Wales they will, in the first instance, be under the ordinary ecclesial jurisdiction of the Ordinariate and not the diocese where they are resident.

The Ordinariate will be made up of laity, clergy and religious who were formerly members of the Anglican Communion. Following reception into full communion with the Catholic Church, the laity and religious will become members of the Ordinariate by enrolment in a register; with ordination as priests and deacons, the clergy will be directly incardinated into (placed under the jurisdiction of) the Ordinariate.

Will the Ordinary of the Ordinariate be like a diocesan bishop?
Each diocesan bishop is the Ordinary for his diocese (this does not mean ‘ordinary’ in the sense of common or normal but is an ecclesiastical term which means someone who exercises power and has jurisdiction by virtue of the office they hold). The power which the diocesan bishop exercises is ordinary (related to his office as a diocesan bishop), proper (exercised in his own name, not vicariously) and immediate (directed toward all in the territory of his diocese).

The power exercised by the Ordinary of the Ordinariate will be ordinary (related to the specific office entrusted to him), vicarious (exercised in the name of the Roman Pontiff) and personal authority (directed to all who belong to the Ordinariate).

As the Ordinary of the Ordinariate (from here on referred to simply as ‘the Ordinary’) has similar authority and responsibilities in Canon Law to a diocesan bishop he will therefore be an ex officio member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. As a member of the Conference, the Ordinary will, like a diocesan bishop, take a full part in its discussions and decisions. The Ordinary will exercise collegiate responsibility for implementing the resolutions taken by the Conference within the life of the Ordinariate in the same way that a diocesan bishop does so within his diocese.

Like diocesan bishops, the Ordinary will be also be required to make a visit to Rome every five years (traditionally called the ad limina Apostolorum – to the threshold of the Apostles) and present a report on the status of the Ordinariate to the Pope through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in consultation with the Congregation for Bishops.

Who will be the Ordinary of the Ordinariate?
The Ordinary of the Ordinariate must be a bishop or a priest and he will be appointed directly by Pope Benedict XVI. All subsequent Ordinaries will be appointed by the Roman Pontiff from a terna (list of three names) presented by the Governing Council of the Ordinariate (See below).

A married former Anglican bishop or priest who has been subsequently ordained as a Catholic priest cannot however be ordained as a Catholic bishop whilst their spouse is still living.

How will the Ordinariate be governed?
The Ordinariate will have a Governing Council of at least six priests, presided over by the Ordinary. Half of the membership is elected by the priests of the Ordinariate. The Ordinariate must also have a Pastoral Council for consultation with the laity and a Finance Council.

The Governing Council will have the same rights and responsibilities in Canon Law that the College of Consultors and the Council of Priests have in the governance of a Diocese. Unlike a diocesan bishop though, and out of respect for the synodal tradition of Anglicanism, the Ordinary will need the consent of the Ordinariate’s Governing Council to: admit a candidate to Holy Orders; erect or suppress a personal parish; erect or suppress a house of formation; approve a program of formation.

The Ordinary must also consult the Governing Council concerning the pastoral activities of the Ordinariate and the principles governing the formation of clergy.

The Governing Council will also have a deliberative vote when: choosing a terna of names to submit to the Holy See for the appointment of the Ordinary; proposing changes to the Complementary Norms of the Ordinariate to present to the Holy See; when formulating the Statutes of the Governing Council, the Statutes of the Pastoral Council, and the Rule for houses of formation.

Will the Ordinariate have parishes and deaneries?
The Ordinariate will have parishes within the dioceses where it has groups of members but they will be ‘personal’ parishes and not ‘territorial’ like a diocesan parish. Membership of a diocesan parish comes from living within the defined territorial boundaries of that parish; to be a member of a ‘personal’ parish in the Ordinariate a person must be a member of the group for which that parish was established, i.e., a former Anglican who is a member of, or has joined, a specific group within the Ordinariate.

After consulting with the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and obtaining the consent of the Governing Council, the Ordinary may erect territorial deaneries for a number of personal parishes which will be supervised by a delegate of the Ordinary.

Who will look after the Ordinariate parishes?
The Ordinariate parishes will be served by priests of the Ordinariate, appointed by the Ordinary. They may be assisted by a parochial vicar (assistant priest) and/or a deacon. Pastoral and finance councils will also be established in the parishes. Diocesan clergy and religious, with the consent of their diocesan bishop or religious superior, may also assist in the pastoral care of the Ordinariate under the supervision of the Ordinary when and where it is deemed suitable. Similarly, clergy incardinated into the Ordinariate should also be available to assist in the pastoral care of the faithful in the local diocese.

What liturgy will the members of the Ordinariate celebrate?
The Ordinariate will not be a Ritual Church; that is, the Ordinariate will not be principally defined by the liturgical rites it uses. In addition to the Roman Rite, some of the liturgical rites of the Anglican tradition which have been adapted and approved by the Holy See may be used by the members of the Ordinariate.
It is expected that in due course, suitable rituals (Sacramentary, Divine Office, etc.) will be promulgated for Ordinariates across the world. However, as it will be fully a part of the Latin Catholic Church (as distinct from the Byzantine, Maronite, Chaldean Catholic Church, etc.) the Ordinariate will always be able to use the Roman Rite.

What churches will the Ordinariate use?
Because the previous places of worship used by the clergy and groups who will form the Ordinariate were in the ownership of the Church of England, it is unlikely that it will be possible for them to continue to be used by the Ordinariate members. In most cases therefore, Ordinariate congregations will probably use their local diocesan Catholic church for the celebration of Mass and other liturgies. In some places there may be a diocesan church which is no longer needed to serve the needs of the local parish community; these could prove suitable for use by the Ordinariate. Essentially, the needs of each Ordinariate group will be carefully assessed by the Ordinary and the most suitable pastoral arrangements will be made by him in collaboration with the local diocesan bishop.

Will any Catholic be able to attend a Mass celebrated within an Ordinariate parish or by an Ordinariate priest?
Yes. Any Catholic, whether a member of the Ordinariate or a member of a diocese, will be able to attend Mass, receive Holy Communion and participate in the liturgies of an Ordinariate parish or celebrated by an Ordinariate priest. However, they would not be registered members of the Ordinariate and would remain under the ordinary jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop where they are resident.

Similarly, registered members of the Ordinariate are free to attend Mass, receive Holy Communion and participate in the liturgies of any diocesan parish but they would remain under the ordinary jurisdiction of the Ordinariate.

How will the Ordinariate be funded?
The Ordinariate, like every diocese, is expected to support financially its own clergy both when they are in ministry and when they have stepped down from public ministry. It will, like a diocese, need to make plans to ensure that it is financially secure and that its pastoral needs can be met. Just as every diocese in England and Wales depends upon the contributions that each parish receives from Sunday collections to finance not only the running and maintenance of the parishes but also its central services, so too the Ordinariate will need similar support. Just as some diocese have good financial reserves, investments and endowments, so too a fund has already been established to enable the Ordinariate to begin its work from the day it is erected. The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have already contributed a quarter of a million pounds to the fund and other charities are being asked to assist.

In those areas where groups are likely to be established, local Catholic dioceses are helping to find housing for the clergy who will serve in the Ordinariate and are providing whatever other practical support they can, e.g. provision or use of churches, use of diocesan curial services, assisting with the identification of salaried chaplaincy roles, etc.

When will all this take place?
The formal erection of the Ordinariate will take place with the publication of a Decree by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and the announcement of the name of the first Ordinary appointed by the Holy Father.

Already, three former Anglican Bishops have been received, together with some members of their families and three former Anglican women religious, into full communion with the Catholic Church on 1 January 2011. With the permission of the Holy See, they will also be ordained as Catholic Priests on 15 January 2011. A further two retired former Anglican Bishops will be received into full communion with the Catholic Church and proceed to Ordination as Catholic Priests in due course.

At the beginning of this Lent (Ash Wednesday falls on 9 March in 2011), a number of groups of former Anglican faithful together with their clergy will be enrolled as candidates for the Ordinariate. Then, at a date to be agreed between the Ordinary and the local diocesan Bishop, they will be received into the Catholic Church and confirmed. This will probably take place either during Holy Week, at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday or during the Easter Vigil. The period of formation for the faithful and their pastors will continue to Pentecost.

Around Pentecost, those former Anglican clergy whose petitions for ordination have been accepted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome will be ordained to the Catholic Priesthood. Ordination to the Diaconate will precede this at some point during Eastertide. The formation of these clergy in Catholic theology and pastoral practice will continue for an appropriate amount of time after their ordination.

Why are priests for the Ordinariate being ordained so quickly and without the normal length of preparation being observed?
A key aspect of the establishment of the Ordinariate by Pope Benedict is that it enables groups of former Anglicans and their clergy to stay together. This is quite new as previously former Anglican clergy seeking ordination in the Catholic Church were separated from their communities, even if some members of those communities also became Catholics. A different timetable is required if this new aspect is to be achieved. For this reason, the ordinations of the first priests for the Ordinariate will take place while their formation is still in process so as to enable them to minister to their communities within the full communion of the Catholic Church. The ordinations of the former Anglican bishops are taking place at this time with the expressed permission of the Holy Father so that they can play a role in the very first stages of the development of the Ordinariate.

The decisions taken by those Anglican clergy and faithful to leave the Church of England and seek full communion with the Catholic Church have been the fruit of much prayer and a long reflection on their personal and communal spiritual pilgrimage. Pain will be felt by those leaving the Anglican Communion and by those with whom they have shared an ecclesial life. Our resolve to continue to work and pray for the unity of Christians therefore must not diminish.

The establishment of the Ordinariate is something new, not just in the life of the Catholic Church in England and Wales but in the universal Church as well. As such there will doubtless be more questions that will arise and challenges to be met as Ordinariates are established and grow. It is important therefore, particularly for those who will form the first groups within the Ordinariate in England and Wales, that our welcome is warm and our support is strong.

Please pray for all those who are trying to discern what path the Lord is calling them to follow, for those who are preparing to be received in to the Catholic Church and for those who are preparing to begin their ministry of service to the Lord as Catholic priests, deacons and religious.

Statement of the Archbishop of Westminster: Ordination to the Catholic Priesthood of three former Anglican Bishops and the Establishment of a 'Personal Ordinariate'

The President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, has today released a statement on the ordination of three former Anglican Bishops and the establishment of a ‘Personal Ordinariate’ in England and Wales for groups of Anglican faithful and their clergy who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

On Saturday 15 January, it will be my privilege to ordain John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton to priesthood in the Catholic Church. This ceremony will take place in Westminster Cathedral.
On or before this date, I expect the Holy See to announce the establishment of the first Ordinariate for groups of former Anglicans and their clergy who seek full communion in the Catholic Church. The three men ordained on Saturday will be the first priests of this Ordinariate.
This is a unique moment and the Catholic community in England and Wales is privileged to be playing its part in this historic development in the life of the Universal Church.
We offer a warm welcome to these three former bishops of the Church of England. We welcome those who wish to join them in full communion with the Pope in the visible unity of the Catholic Church. We recognise the journey they are making with its painful departures and its uncertainties. We salute their depth of searching prayer and the desire which leads them to seek to live within the community of the Catholic Church under the ministry of the Bishop of Rome. This is the faith we share.
We are deeply grateful for the depth of the relationship which exists here between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. This firm, positive and on-going relationship is the context for Saturday’s important initiative. We are grateful, too, for the sensitive leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He graciously acknowledges the integrity of those seeking to join the Ordinariate and has assured them of his prayers. This is the noble spirit of true ecumenism between the followers of Christ.
Pope Benedict has made clear his own intentions: that the Ordinariate can serve the wider cause of visible unity between our two churches by demonstrating in practice the extent to which we have so much to give to each other in our common service of the Lord. With this in mind he describes this step as ‘a prophetic gesture.’
With great trust in the Lord, we look forward to Saturday, to the new phase of Church life it brings and we ask God’s blessing on its future development.
The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Background Information
On or before 15 January 2011, it is expected that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will publish a Decree which will formally establish a ‘Personal Ordinariate’ in England and Wales (from here on referred to as ‘the Ordinariate’) for groups of Anglican faithful and their clergy who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Coming into Communion

On the verge of the decree of Canonical Erection of the Ordinariate in the UK provided for in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, it is worth looking back a year to the debates that followed shortly after it was announced. Here is the full text of an article by Fr Mark Woodruff published in The Tablet in October 2009, as he looked back across the previous 15 years to address concerns and fears about the motives and outlook of Anglicans becoming Catholics and, in view of many questions about what Anglican Patrimony might mean, the hopes and contribution they have wanted to offer, with a special emphasis on Unity and Mission.

Fourteen years ago, twelve priests were ordained by Cardinal Hume in Westminster Cathedral. They had been priests of the Church of England, invited to bring their Anglicanism with them. Outside there was a demonstration of Catholic supporters of the women’s ordination to whom the new priests were a sign of contradiction. For months the candidates had been described in the press as defectors, dissidents, traditionalists, disloyal. It is interesting that there are similar reservations about the kind of people, their motivation and baggage, who may join the ordinariates set up by Anglicanorum Coetibus. We turned out not to be Trojan horses in 1995 and I suspect there is no more cause for grievance today than then. The Apostolic Constitution is to be a fact of our Church’s life – our faith must be that all things work together for good to those who love God.

When I became a Catholic it was not to negate Anglicanism, but to be embraced by the Catholic Church. When I am asked why I became a Catholic, the only answer is, “Because I believe the Catholic faith is true”. I learned this faith in Anglican Sunday School, choirs and organ lofts, an Anglican university course, the cathedrals and my life-changing training for ordination with the remarkable religious order, the Community of the Resurrection. All this I treasure and brought with me. And in the prayer inserted into the rite of our ordination by the Holy See it was thankfully received and brought to fruition in the presbyterate of the Catholic Church. I did not become a Catholic in order to become an ex-Anglican.

Cardinal Hume instilled in us that the purposes of the Catholic Church are not served by hurting the Church of England, our vital ecumenical partner. Peter must strengthen his brethren. Somehow our ordinations had to be seen as ecumenical moments; we had to reconcile them to the Catholic Church’s promoting Christian Unity. I fear I handled the transition poorly and my journey felt to some Anglican friends like an act of schism. So I resolved to work as a Catholic for the unity of Christians.

By the same token, whatever misgivings some have about the Apostolic Constitution, we have to discern its purpose as an instrument of Christian Unity. We owe the Anglicans who may take up its provisions not to caricature them. Catholic Anglicans are of various schools and histories. Generalisations like “traditionalists”, “dissidents”, or “extreme Anglo-Catholics” may be handy, but they encourage prejudice and fail to do justice to a rich weave of traditions that soon we will be asked to welcome. There are High Anglicans of the mainstream “Catholic but Reformed” tradition. There are “middle of the road” Anglicans who can find themselves at home in a Catholic parish in France, feeling they naturally belong to the same western Catholic tradition. There are those who looked to Orthodoxy to support an Anglican non-papal Catholicism. There are Anglo-Papalists who, despite Apostolicae Curae, insisted after the 1910 Edinburgh Mission Conference that true Christian Unity involves the whole Church, including Roman Catholics. Some worship only in the Roman rite, a tradition Roman Catholics find difficult to comprehend but which we could credit as the exchange of spiritual gifts commended in Unitatis Redintegratio. There are also “Prayer Book Catholics”, whose Catholicism is expressed in the historic and contemporary Anglican formularies.

From these backgrounds will come not theological or ritualist reactionaries, but fellow Christians who share the same faith as ours. Last year, the eminent Anglican ecumenist Mary Tanner observed that closing the period of reception on women’s ordination before it was resolved by the Church as a whole in the future meant that those who could not accept it no longer enjoyed an assured place within the Church of England. And Cardinal Kasper at the 2008 Lambeth Conference informed the Anglican bishops that “the ordination of women to the episcopate effectively and definitively blocks a possible recognition of Anglican Orders”. It is not surprising that those whose Anglican Christianity aspired for consummation in visible unity with the Roman Catholic Church have sought the corporate reunion they have prayed for over a century – or that Pope Benedict has responded - especially now that the restoration of complete communion envisaged by Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey has “receded” as a “realistic possibility”.

What patrimony will they bring? There are Anglican traditions of spirituality, preaching, mission and theology in which the Anglican and Catholic Churches both recognise the same faith. There is an Anglican approach to music and liturgy borne of 460 years using the vernacular that makes even their celebration of the Roman rite distinctive. There is the liturgy derived from the Book of Common Prayer that has been the mark of the Pastoral Provision for former Anglicans in the United States. I can still recite the Prayer Book services from memory. Perhaps the most distinctive form of Anglican patrimony is its hymnography. Often misunderstood by Catholic liturgists as out of place, this is a comprehensive body of doxological theology from the Greek, Latin, Reformation, Independent and Wesley traditions, as well as the Victorian and postwar “hymn explosions”. Its careful arrangement at services is a subtle science. For Anglicans it has been the most important means of teaching doctrine and fostering spirituality. As a gift to the wider Catholic Church it should not be underestimated.

Accommodating the “objective reality” of Anglican liturgical life is a signal that there is nothing distinctive of the Anglican tradition that cannot be encompassed in the contemporary Catholic Church. Perhaps the most hopeful development in ecumenical dialogue in recent times has been receptive ecumenism, which asks each tradition what with integrity it can receive from another to make its own as a step to unity. Through Anglicanorum Coetibus is not the Catholic Church receiving the gifts of another tradition? In the ecumenical long term, does this internal awareness of Anglican identity not provide Catholics with a greater disposition towards unity between them and all Anglicans?

Will many come? It will take courage, time and discernment. Some will discover that they remain convinced Anglicans. Others will be uncertain of how they will be understood. In the 1990s some people’s long sacramental life as Anglicans was disregarded; they were put in RCIA as though they were candidates for baptism or new to the notion of Catholicism. One priest told me they had to have a desert experience. Another said, “This is for the Forty Martyrs.” Hurt and repelled, some walked away. We do not thus treat Catholics coming from the other side of the world while they get acclimatised to UK Catholicism. There would be no question of withholding communion; nor should we set back Catholic Anglicans who come to share our faith. But we have come a long way. If we say that the Universal Church of Christ perfectly subsists in our Catholic Church, there should be no limit to our capacity to embrace diversity in our unity.

It is painfully obvious, however, that corporate reunion for some Anglicans leaves most out of the equation. No one joining the ordinariates can turn their backs and be glad of this. Becoming Catholics they make the teaching on the Church in Lumen Gentium and its inevitable orientation towards visible unity their own. Lest they be signs of contradiction to this, it must become their special duty to redouble the charity that binds all those with an Anglican patrimony and energetically assist the Catholic bishops in their concerted efforts with the Anglican Communion on mission to an ever more secularised society, that the world may believe.

Letter to The Tablet, 8th January 2011

Here is the full text of a letter from Fr Mark Woodruff to the Editor of the Tablet, published on 8 January 2011. Dr Phil McCarthy had complained on January 1st of the prospect of Anglicans leaving the Church of England, but bringing divisions with them and raised objections to the principle of establishing a special ecclesial structure for Catholics with an Anglican patrimony in full communion.

While Dr Phil McCarthy has taken offence at Pope Benedict’s decision to found special dioceses for Christians formerly of an Anglican background, he is not right to say that many Catholics have been shocked. In the late summer of 2010, several priests and lay people in London offered to put on a public meeting aimed at addressing questions that Catholics have about the Ordinariate. We invited four distinguished speakers reflecting a range of view points within the Catholic world - lay, episcopal, clerical, pastoral, conservative, progressive, academic and ecumenical. Despite reasonably wide promotion, only 7 people registered and so it was cancelled. It seemed to us that, after all, Catholics were either content or amenable to the development.

Clearly once the structure becomes a reality there will be opportunity for learning about how it will work in practice, both in relation to the other Catholic dioceses and to other Christian church communities, for the sake of the whole Church’s mission and service in the world. Some of this will be challenging, but even the Archbishop of Canterbury has discerned that there could be something prophetic for the forward course of Christian Unity about it. Dr McCarthy is surely mistaken when he mocks the Ordinariate concept as an unnecessary annex because, it seems to me, the Catholic Church has a genius for inventing the means of being the Church apt to those who desire to belong to it in a diversity of ways – from regular dioceses, to religious orders and abbots nullius; from parallel Byzantine Catholic and Latin Catholic jurisdictions in Ukraine and North America to personal prelatures and new ecclesial movements. I do not see that the Ordinariate will lack either precedent or comparably inventive structures already provided for - see Canon 372 on particular churches other than a diocese that can be founded in a territory “distinguished by the rite of the faithful or by some other quality” and Ad Gentes 20 which envisages groups of people “impeded from accepting the Catholic faith because they cannot adapt themselves to the particular guise in which the Church presents itself in that place” and that such a situation should be “specially catered for”.

In the case of Anglicans clergy and faithful desiring full communion at this point, their esprit de corps and the “real but imperfect communion” they already have with the Catholic Church is something to be conserved and built upon rather than dissipated. If we are not inclined, like Dr McCarthy, to allow the corporate dimension which Anglicanorum Coetibus is looking for, we continue to miss out on what another part of the Christian community wants to offer us in the exchange of gifts of which Unitatis Redintegratio spoke. We are also saying that the coming reintegrated Church is one in which we Catholics assume everyone will have to fit in individually with us, and our parishes, dioceses and worship as we already have them. Yet, when we are one, how will the rich distinctiveness of, for instance, the Methodist, Lutheran, Anglican, Byzantine and Latin traditions fit in with each other in full communion, unless we start now, as Pope Benedict has done, to think imaginatively about how the integrity of the Church’s apostolic faith and order can embrace diversity as an outward manifestation of its universality? Given the urgent evangelistic task before us, thankfully there are indeed many rooms in the Father’s house; whole floors of them are yet being built of living stones.