Francis has added a new paragraph to the Complementary Norms which govern the life of the Personal Ordinariates, expanding membership even to non-AnglicansANDREA TORNIELLI vatican city
The news was announced on the official website of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, set up by Benedict XVI under the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. The Apostolic Constitution was published in November 2009 to encourage Anglican clergy, faithful and parishes that were not in agreement with the liberal changes made over the past decades, to enter into communion with the Catholic Church once more. Damian Thompson, editor of Telegraph Blogs also published an article on the subject in his own blog.
Last 31 May, Pope Francis made an important modification to article 5 of the Complementary Norms, “to make clear the contribution of the Personal Ordinariates in the work of the New Evangelisation,” the website of the Personal Ordinariate of Our lady of Walshingham says.
The text that was added reads: “A person who has been baptised in the Catholic Church but who has not completed the Sacraments of Initiation, and subsequently returns to the faith and practice of the Church as a result of the evangelising mission of the Ordinariate, may be admitted to membership in the Ordinariate and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation or the Sacrament of the Eucharist or both.”
The accompanying comment explains that the new paragraph “confirms the place of the Personal Ordinariates within the mission of the wider Catholic Church, not simply as a jurisdiction for those from the Anglican tradition, but as a contributor to the urgent work of the New Evangelisation.”
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - which prepared the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus under the guidance of Benedict XVI and the Congregation’s former Prefect William Levada – remarked that the criterion for admission to the Ordinariate was incomplete Christian initiation, meaning Catholics cannot become members “for purely subjective motives or personal preference.”
This shows a clear aim to increase commitment to the New Evangelisation, without altering the structure of the Apostolic Constitution and the Complementary Norms. From now on, whoever discovers their Christian faith again having not completed the Sacraments of Initiation as children, will be able to continue their experience alongside the people who helped them in the re-discovery of their faith. Even if someone was baptised in the Catholic Church and was therefore a member of it. But Ordinariates are not an alternative for Catholics who have certain liturgical and pastoral preferences: they were and still are a clearly-defined means for Anglican faithful to enter into communion with the Roman Catholic Church.