Friday 19 November 2010

English Ordinariate: Press Conference

At the close of a plenary meeting of the Bishops' Conference of England & Wales today, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president, announced that the dioceses of England and Wales have pooled together from their resources a fund of a quarter of a million pounds to establish the Ordinariate.

Bishop Alan Hopes, Episcopal Delegate of the Bishops' Conference for the Ordinariate, also announced that there were currently 50 groups preparing to petition for admission to the Ordinariate in 2011.

Statement on the Implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus: The Establishment of a Personal Ordinariate in England and Wales

Here is the Statement issued today, 19th October 2010, by the Bishops' Conference of England & Wales

Much has been achieved over many years as a result of the dialogue and the fruitful ecumenical relations which have developed between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Obedient to the prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ to His Heavenly Father, the unity of the Church remains a constant desire in the vision and life of Anglicans and Catholics. The prayer for Christian Unity is the prayer for the gift of full communion with each other. We must never tire of praying and working for this goal.

During his visit to the United Kingdom in September, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was therefore keen to stress that the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus: “…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.”

It is now just over one year since the Apostolic Constitution was published. The Pope’s initiative provided for the establishment of personal Ordinariates as one of the ways in which members of the Anglican tradition may seek to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. As the Holy Father stated at that time, 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.” Since then, it has become clear that a number of Anglican clergy and their faithful do indeed wish to bring their desire for full ecclesial communion with the Catholic Church to realisation within an Ordinariate structure.

In collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome, the Bishops of England and Wales have been preparing for the establishment of an Ordinariate early in January 2011. Although there may be practical difficulties in the months ahead, the Bishops are working to address these at a national and local level.

Five Anglican Bishops who currently intend to enter the Ordinariate have already announced their decision to resign from pastoral ministry in the Church of England with effect from 31 December 2010. They will enter into full communion with the Catholic Church early in January 2011. During the same month, it is expected that the Decree establishing the Ordinariate will be issued and the name of the Ordinary to be appointed announced. Soon afterwards, those non-retired former Anglican Bishops whose petitions to be ordained are accepted by the CDF, will be ordained to the Catholic Diaconate and Priesthood for service in the Ordinariate.

It is expected that the retired former Anglican Bishops whose petitions to be ordained are accepted by the CDF, will be ordained to the Catholic Diaconate and Priesthood prior to Lent. This will enable them, together with the Ordinary and the other former Anglican Bishops, to assist with the preparation and reception of former Anglican clergy and their faithful into full communion with the Catholic Church during Holy Week.

Before the beginning of Lent, those Anglican clergy with groups of faithful who have decided to enter the Ordinariate will then begin a period of intense formation for ordination as Catholic priests.

At the beginning of Lent, the groups of faithful together with their pastors 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. Until then, these communities will be cared for sacramentally by local clergy as arranged by the diocesan Bishop and the Ordinary.

Around Pentecost, those former Anglican priests whose petitions for ordination have been accepted by the CDF will be ordained to the Catholic Priesthood. Ordination to the Diaconate will precede this at some point during Eastertide. Formation in Catholic theology and pastoral practice will continue for an appropriate amount of time after ordination.

In responding generously and offering a warm welcome to those seeking full ecclesial communion with the Catholic Church within the Ordinariate, the Bishops know that the clergy and faithful who are on that journey of faith will bring their own spiritual treasures which will further enrich the spiritual life of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The Bishops will do all they can to ensure that there is effective and close collaboration with the Ordinariate both at diocesan and parish levels.

Finally, with the blessings and encouragement they have received from Pope Benedict’s recent Visit, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales are resolved to continue their dialogue with other Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities on that journey towards the communion in faith and the fullness of unity for which Christ prayed.

Thursday 18 November 2010

"Ordinariates Prophetic? Maybe" - Archbishop of Canterbury: Interview with Vatican Radio

From the website of the Archbishop of Canterbury

Wednesday 17 November 2010

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams is in Rome, having been invited earlier in the year to be one of three speakers at a public conference in the Vatican to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the (then) Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. A transcript of his speech will be available in due course.
During his visit, the Archbishop granted an interview to Vatican Radio, the transcript of which can be seen below:

It's only a couple of months since our last meeting in Westminster Abbey during the papal visit – is it possible to talk about any concrete fruits of that trip?
I think the ecumenical fruits have actually been very powerful – a couple of weeks after the visit, Archbishop Vincent Nichols and myself were with others at a meeting of the black majority churches in London and a lot of those black majority Pentecostal Churches were saying how much the pope's visit had affirmed them, how they felt it had been deeply significant for Christians throughout the country. It's certainly given to Archbishop Vincent and myself a very strong sense of the need to go on building on what we have, the relations between our bishops and so on, so I think the fruits continue to be very positive.

You're here marking the 50th anniversay of the PCPCU – during a plenary entitled Towards a new phase of ecumenical dialogue. To most people it would seem a much harder, much more uncertain era?
First of all I think any great new enterprise begins with a massive hope and positive feeling and then discovers reality – Dr Johnson said 'Reality keeps breaking in', so I'm not surprised that 50 years on, it doesn't feel so sunny. But what we have done is quarry further and further about the meanings of the baptism we share and certainly in the plans that the Council has for the future, they speak about more work on that, on how we pray and what we mean when we pray the Lord's prayer together and I was suggesting that maybe the Council should get a working group together across a number of historic Churches and newer Churches to talk about the Eucharist in the Church because there's a great strand of Christian identity that doesn't seem to see the Eucharist as basic as many of us do.

You're talking about the PCPCU as a space where the idea and vision for unity can really be discussed yet there are many concerned that the Council is coming increasingly returning under the jurisdiction of the CDF?
Well I can't comment on internal Vatican issues but I do share a concern that the PCPCU should retain a real theological strand to its work and of course that means the CDF is going to take an interest. But I hope there will continue to be that space for thinking about unity, it's too easy to think we know what unity is bound to mean – if we look at history and theology we see it's much more varied and we need to be honest about that

There is a lot of talk about the 'controversial goal of ecumenism' today, that many in the Protestant world have settled for a mutual recongition of each others' differences, a unity in diversity kind of solution which smacks of the relativism?
I think it's perfectly proper to think of our goal as unity in diversity but not a diversity as endless multiplication of institutions. I still think we have to pray for visible sacramental communion, the recognition of ministries, the ability to function intelligibly as one body across the globe.

You stressed that the Ut Unum Sint agenda must not be allowed to slip out of sight - What exactly do you mean by that?
The great thing about that was the Bishop of Rome asking other Christians what service should this Petrine ministry be offering to the whole Christian world – that's a very good question and I don't think we've begun to get to the bottom of it. Because it is saying the ministry of the See of Rome is not, as some think, a top down executive magisterial authority but also a ministry of universal service and drawing together of believers. So what does that mean concretely, if it doesn't mean quite the way the papacy has evolved in the last few centuries – I think that's a very challenging, fruitful area.

You have continually said that the Ordinariate for disaffected Anglicans is irrelevant or not important to the ongoing dialogue, yet officials here are increasingly talking about its fruits, seeing as a "prophetic gesture", that has grown out of recent progress and will further encourage a sharing of gifts
Well I think if the Ordinariate helps people evaluate Anglican legacy, patrimony, well and good, I'm happy to praise God for it. I don't see it as an aggressive act, meant to destabilise the relations of the Churches and it remains to be seen just how large a movement we're talking about. But prophetic? Maybe yes, in the sense that here is the Roman Catholic Church saying there are ways of being Christian in the Western Church which are not restricted by historic Roman Catholic identity - that's something we can talk about.

What was your reaction to the departure of the first five Church of England bishops and what difficulties are you facing as a result – I've also heard talk of some 50 priests planning to follow them?
Obviously my reactions to the resignations is one of regret but respect; but I know the considerations they've been through, particular the two who were my suffragans. We've talked about it, we've worked through it and parted with prayers and blessings, so there's no ill feeling there. I think the challenge will come in working out shared use of churches, of how we as Anglicans 'recommend' people and also of course there will be some parishes without priests so we have a practical challenge here and there.

Departure of those on the Anglo-Catholic or traditionalist wing of the CofE must surely tip the balance of Anglicanism away from Rome – yet easier to identify positions for dialogue?
Interesting question - I wish you were right, I'm not sure it does, because there are still a great many Anglicans in the CoE who'd call themselves traditionalists, who have no intention of jumping ship, who are in considerable confusion and distress wondering what the CoE can do for them; but they don't think the only option is Rome, So I'd question whether it means the traditional voice has left the CoE – I don't think it has. But if the RC church is looking for who speaks for it, well it is the bishops in synod.

Here in the West, we can continue to debate our differences in comfortable surroundings, yet you recently spent a fortnight in Indiatalking to Christians of different denominations facing persecution – should we not be looking to these countries to find a new urgency and impetus for our dialogue?
I couldn't agree more I think Christians are drawn closer together than in any other circumstances when they face persecution – in Iraq, Pakistan Indonesia, Orissa or Rajasthan, Christians under pressure don't have the luxury of waiting to stand together until they've sorted everything out – I met first hand with a number of people on the receiving end of violence – a woman who'd seen her husband tortured to death in front of her for refusing to abandon his Christian faith – that's simply a moment when you realise what the basic truths are.

Monday 15 November 2010

The Portal

The Catholic League is funding the new free online information magazine for those considering joining the imminent Ordinariate in Britain, The Portal. It will carry news, information and teaching for those wishing to familiarise themselves with the life, culture, history, theological and spiritual traditions of the Catholic Church, especially in this country. There is also a blog to follow here.

To register for a subscription, visit The Portal.