A canonist on the Anglican provisions

About the new provisions, ordinariates, for Anglicans… we can always benefit from the thoughts of distinguished canonist Ed Peters:

Keep in mind as you think about this provision for Anglicans that the Holy See and the SSPX will soon begin the next stage in the hard journey of reconciliation.

First thoughts on an Anglican ordinariate

An interesting announcement today from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith alerts us to an upcoming apostolic constitution establishing a "personal ordinariate for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church". Till the document itself is published, only a few observations can be offered.

An "apostolic constitution" is the form of document used by the Holy See to make the most significant canonical and disciplinary provisions for the Church. It is not, then, a simple "decree" (1983 CIC 29 etc), say, or an "instruction" (1983 CIC 34).

The establishment of a "personal ordinariate" will be something of an innovation in modern canon law, although this ordinariate is apparently going to be similar to "personal arch/dioceses" such as those used for the military (1983 CIC 368 and ap. con. Spirituali militum), or to personal prelatures (1983 CIC 294-297), with Opus Dei being the only example thereof to date. [NB…] One wonders, though, why both of these structures were apparently found to be inadequate for the reception of Anglicans, and why a third way was invented? We’ll have to see. 

In any case, the idea of a "personal ordinariate" is another sign of the (I think) inevitable trend away from purely territorial jurisdictional units in the Roman Church and toward greater use of personal jurisdiction. [Think about the way territory is nearly meaningless for parishes in this age of mobility in many places.  People vote with their cars.  Also, the Code calls parishes a "portion" of the people of God.]  This trend has been evident in western canon law at least since the late 1960s (see, e.g., 1967 Synod of Bishops, "Principles Guiding the Revision of Canon Law", no. 8) and is reflected in the 1983 Code (e.g., 1983 CIC 372, 518). Provided this shift is pursued in an orderly manner, I think it a step in the right direction for people who are coming to see themselves as less identified with various locales, and more with social groupings. Certainly several other groups [I think he means lay movements] in the Church will be watching the Anglican project with an eye to applying innovative structures in their own spheres.

Lastly, it strikes me as a bit odd that CDF is, at present, the lead dicastery in this matter. Provisions for "particular churches" usually come from the Congregation for Bishops (ap. con. Pastor bonus 75-76), not CDF. While theological issues (and there are some here, of course) are better addressed by doctrinal experts in CDF, organizational issues (which are numerous here) seem better left to administrative experts in the Cong. for Bishops. But, I’m sure someone has already thought of that.  [I think this may have a great deal to do with determining the validity of Holy Orders of some Anglicans who have been involved with Orthodox lines of bishops, etc.  There are also doctrinal issues.  Also, historically the CDF (its predecessor the Holy Office) was also the most important dicastery.  Perhaps this is a sign that the iron-cast hegemony of the Secretariat of State is cracking.]

I’ll keep my eyes open for more on this one. It is, as I say, interesting.

 

Again, folks, I think that – down the line – this may have importance for the SSPX.

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35 Responses to A canonist on the Anglican provisions

  1. wabashman says:

    In the fourth paragraph Mr. Peters highlights the fact that people are coming to see themselves as less identified with various locales and more with social groupings. This seems dangerous to me in that it might lead to sort of a fractioning within the Church. Should we not be with the people of God closest to our homes? Regardless of they are?

  2. Oleksander says:

    i would have to “hopefully disagree”, that is i hope im wrong, but if sspx gets something like this i think it would only be polarizing “pffft, local diocese? you people and your bishop are novus ordo. i go to the new ordinariate parish down the street, we are the real deal”

  3. chcrix says:

    Wabashman: let’s face it – celebrations of the extradorinary form are going to reinforce that. I drive about 8 miles to a benedictine oratory when there is a regular parish (novus ordo only) a mile away.

  4. I agree with wabashman—Even while I’m appreciative of this newest step towards Christian unity, I do respectfully wonder: if the faithful were indeed encouraged to be “less identified with various locales and more with social groupings,” (this may just be Dr. Peters’ interpretation of the direction in which Church is actually intending to move) wouldn’t it be frighteningly easy to form cliques based on socio-economic status, ideology, or even just personal taste? Could this emerging view of ecclesiastical organization then present problems in terms of inter-Roman Catholic Church unity?

    Also, I think the concept of “local Church” (i.e., the faithful of one particular geographic area living and worshiping together under the pastoral authority of the “apostle” who has been sent to them), is an ancient and very valuable part of our Catholic spiritual patrimony. The “seven Churches” listed in the book of Revelation were probably roughly equivalent to what we would now call “dioceses.” And when St. Paul, and not much later St. Ignatius of Antioch, wrote their epistles to the faithful, they weren’t writing to particular “social groupings”—they were writing to local Churches.

  5. Oleksander says:

    wabashman, I am Ukrainian and I drive an hour to my Ukrainian Catholic parish… because I want to be with fellow Ukrainians, its my right to want to worship with my kind as is the right of the non-Ukrainian Rite Catholics at my parish to worship with us (they are more than more welcomed to belong to our parish btw) I really dont see a problem.

    Likewise here in Detroit Latin-Rite immigrants and their offspring drive an hour from the suburbs to their old ethnic parishes in Detroit – Sicilian, Polish, Hungarian, Lithuanian etc – and the Church of Detroit as a whole functions fine here without any divide as is being suggested might happen with these “English” parishes.

    What I am afraid of is if the SSPX gets a similar deal, I think not necessarily many but enough laymen (and perhaps clergy) will continue on as business as usual insulting and proselytizing “novus ordo” Catholics of the local diocese, declaring them as heresy only now being in full communion they will claim to have Rome’s backing.

    This is what happened with the Eastern-Rite SSPX in Ukrainian until they were finally canonically excommunicated. (I did and still do have some sympathies for SSPX, its the minority of people in it that really turned me off from being a passive supporter, and I think this minority will take advantage if they are given a Local Ordinariate)

  6. Dauphin says:

    I think worries about a personal ordinariate for the SSPX are unfounded. The Holy Father has already said that he wants the Traditional Latin Mass celebrated in all the parishes, and for it to become a regular part of the church’s liturgical life.

    A personal ordinariate for the SSPX is necessary to integrate them as a group, but there’s no reason why the Extaordinary Form couldn’t continue to grow within normal diocesan structures. There would be no disunity of faith or liturgy if the Holy Father’s wishes are carried out.

  7. wabashman says:

    chcrix – I drive over an hour and a half round trip to attend an EF. I am not saying that this is wrong necessarily. You have to make do with what you are given, but I would hope that our goal as a Church would not be long commutes that alienate us from those who are closest to us and share in our everyday lives as Christians.

    Oleksander – I apologize for the ambiguity of my statement but I was not really referring so much to Ethnic parishes. I think this carries a different weight related to cultural ties. I was referring to things like socio-economic class. And by the way my girlfriend’s family all attend Ukrainian Churches in Detroit. Thankfully I will be joinging them this coming Christmas. I am very excited to experience the beauty of the East.

  8. smad0142 says:

    As I understand it the Constitution allows for former married Anglican clerics to become married Catholic Priests, as has been the case for a long time. Will further provision be made to allow for married clergy within the personal ordinariate or will only the first generation within the ordinariate be allowed to be married clerics?

  9. Rien says:

    Interesting indeed.

    How will re-married Anglicans coming in be handled. Clergy and laity alike. Bishop Hepworth is on his second or third marriage.

    Given the state of marriage in the West, it’s likely half or so of the TAC are remarried.

    Is Rome going to have to allow a way in for what could be thousands of couples? I doubt that re-married Anglican couples in TAC who would otherwise come in will do so if they have to live as brother and sister.

    Options?

    A general annulment granted to all divorced Anglicans coming in? On grounds they wentr into their original marriage not knowing the Catholic understanding of marriage and therefor these marriages were invalid to begin with?

    Or take the Orthodox tac and recognize/allow one divorce in the new Anglican ordinature?

  10. LaudemGloriae says:

    I have heard it preached at the SSPX in my area that they are not interested in a personal prelature. They are not looking to be accepted by Rome as a separate-but-equal entity but rather they want to lead the way in the reform of the reform. They feel the traditional Church (at least as they understand and interpret it) is the heritage of every Catholic and will not enter into any agreement with Rome that requires them to recognize the Novus Ordo as equal or even valid (ditto many other modern innovations). How much of this is posturing I do not know. I was a little surprised at the ambition of their intent. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out.

  11. Rien says:

    I am seeing some comments that the priests/arch priests who may lead some of the ordinatures will allow/finesse married Anglican bishops to basically continue as bishop but just not with the formal name. And if this becomes permanent it could lead to eventual return of married bishops in the Western Rite. Lots of long-term implications here. Certainly a more diverse and de-centralized church.

  12. Hamburglar says:

    Have there been any efforts to incorporate Anglican-rite parishes into dioceses? Similar to the the ethnic parishes, but instead of something like a Vietnamese church, there would be an Anglican-rite church?

  13. Malta says:

    I know there is great excitement with respect to the the rapprochement with the traditional Anglicans, and I share that excitement, reservedly.

    Here’s why I’m a bit reserved: the Mass is the unbloody Sacrifice of Christ. Here is what Saint Leonard-Port Maurice, in “The Hidden Treasure of the Holy Mass, said regarding it:

    “The principal excellence of the most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass consists in being essentially, and in the very highest degree, identical with that which was offered on the Cross of Calvary: with this sole difference, that the Sacrifice on the Cross was bloody, and made once for all, and did on that one occasion satisfy fully for all the sins of the world; while the Sacrifice of the Altar is an unbloody sacrifice, which can be repeated an infinite number of times, and was instituted in order to apply in detail that universal ransom which Jesus paid for us on Calvary. So that the bloody Sacrifice was the instrument of redemption; the unbloody is that which puts us in possession: the one threw open the treasury of the merits of Christ Our Lord; the other affords the practical use of that treasury. And, therefore, observe that in Mass there is made not a mere representation, nor a simple commemoration of the Passion and Death of the Redeemer, but there is performed, in a certain true sense, the selfsame most holy act which was performed on Calvary. It may be said, with all truth, that in every Mass Our Redeemer returns mystically to die for us, without really dying, at one and the same time really alive and as it were slain—–vidi Agnum stantem tamquam occisum, “I saw a Lamb standing as it were slain” (Apoc. v. 6).”

    So what, I ask, is the proper understanding of Anglicans, after nearly 500 years of heresy, regarding the Mass? Does the Anglican rite properly acknowledge the Sacrifice as the Orthodox rite does? These are not rhetorical questions–I honestly do not know. I hope they do, otherwise we have a lower-tier from the already watered-down Bugnini mass. But probably you can’t get any more watered-down than that, unless you’re wading in water….

  14. Oleksander says:

    wabashman – no need to apologize, re-reading my comment i notice it reads very patronizing/rude and i meant it in a casual conversational manner, sorry!

  15. Daniel Latinus says:

    So what, I ask, is the proper understanding of Anglicans, after nearly 500 years of heresy, regarding the Mass? Does the Anglican rite properly acknowledge the Sacrifice as the Orthodox rite does? These are not rhetorical questions—I honestly do not know.

    There is a wide variety of opinions within the Anglican churches, ranging from Protestants who are almost “Presbyterians with prayerbooks” to Anglo-Papalists who want to be “more Catholic than the Pope”. The provision announced today is aimed mostly at the more orthodox Anglo-Catholics, who are disturbed by the directions Anglicanism is taking, and whose theology is often nearly, if not fully Catholic. Preseumably more Protestant-minded Anglicans, and modernistic Anglo-Catholics are not interested. However, one can never have too much catechesis.

    I think part of the reason the Holy Father decided to create a new structure for these groups is because there is already a tremendous variety among Anglo-Catholics. Consider:

    – in the US, Anglican Use parishes already in communion with the Church use The Book of Divine Worship, which is based on the Episcopal Church/USA’s (EC/USA) 1979 edition of The Book of Common Prayer.

    – Some Anglo-Catholics use older editions of The Book of Common Prayer.

    – Some use The English Missal, The American Missal, or The Anglican Missal, which are essentially the Tridentine Mass in English.

    – I am told that in England, most Anglo-Catholics use the Novus Ordo, and have been for years.

    The Book of Common Prayer varies to a greater or lesser extent from country to country.
    -I am told one parish that entered the Catholic Church under the Pastoral Provision, when they found that the The Book of Divine Worship was going to be based on the EC/USA’s 1979 prayerbook (as opposed to the 1928 edition), opted to use the Tridentine Mass.

    So I have to wonder if the structure being set up isn’t an attempt prevent friction before it starts.

  16. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    My steady boy-friend in high school was of the Anglo-Catholic variety of Episcopalian/Anglican, very “high church” yep, that Tridentine mass in English fits the description of the few services I attended with him and his family. He did like-wise and came to Mass with me and my family.

    Now I wonder, when we will be receive in communion the non-evangelical-Lutherans? I know of several that have “come Home to Rome” because of our unflagging and unchanging adherence to the Gospel.

  17. Malta says:

    Daniel Latinus-that is greatly informative. You have a huge understanding of Anglican differences. I am also interested if Anglican rites believe the Mass to be the unbloody Sacrifice of Jesus.

    See, that is the hole key–the simple understanding–that is lacking in the Bugnini mass. Like Fr. Z has illustrated, it’s a simple matter of a) orientation–the priest and people together facing our Lord, and b) a rite becoming to Our Lord’s Sacrifice.

    I’m still curious if the Anglicans–traditional or otherwise–understand the Mass as the unbloody Sacrifice of Jesus, or just a “banquet of the Lord,” a gathering of the faithful, as it were, over the meal-table?

  18. robtbrown says:

    As I understand it the Constitution allows for former married Anglican clerics to become married Catholic Priests, as has been the case for a long time. Will further provision be made to allow for married clergy within the personal ordinariate or will only the first generation within the ordinariate be allowed to be married clerics?
    Comment by smad0142

    I would think the latter will be implemented.

  19. robtbrown says:

    I am seeing some comments that the priests/arch priests who may lead some of the ordinatures will allow/finesse married Anglican bishops to basically continue as bishop but just not with the formal name.

    It has already been said that the bishops will be celibate.

    And if this becomes permanent it could lead to eventual return of married bishops in the Western Rite.

    Return of married bishops?

    Lots of long-term implications here.

    You’re assuming too much.

    Certainly a more diverse and de-centralized church.
    Comment by Rien

    How can a personal prelature/ordinariate be considered de-centralized? It seems to me to be the opposite–Rome, the great centralizer, exercising more papal authority in dioceses.

  20. Dave N. says:

    I think prior marriages of clergy and lay are going to be an issue, actually. If mass annulments are issued, I think that would be very unfortunate for the state of marriage in the Church.

  21. Jordanes says:

    Ed Peters observed: Lastly, it strikes me as a bit odd that CDF is, at present, the lead dicastery in this matter. Provisions for “particular churches” usually come from the Congregation for Bishops (ap. con. Pastor bonus 75-76), not CDF. While theological issues (and there are some here, of course) are better addressed by doctrinal experts in CDF, organizational issues (which are numerous here) seem better left to administrative experts in the Cong. for Bishops. But, I’m sure someone has already thought of that.

    I think Phil Lawler has some interesting things to say about that:

    Quite understandably, the Anglican hierarchy has been unenthusiastic about the possibility that entire Anglican parishes, or even dioceses, would enter into full communion with Rome– and thus exit the Anglican communion. Cardinal Kasper, who under normal circumstances is the key figure in Vatican talks with Anglicans, has reflected the views of the Anglican hierarchy in his own public statements, consistently downplaying the prospects for any corporate reunion. So the TAC and other conservative Anglican groups have taken another route, bringing their petitions to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Divine Worship– and ultimately to the Holy Father himself, who has long been sympathetic toward the Anglo-Catholic cause.

    http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?id=350

  22. Athelstan says:

    Ed Peters speaks of personal prelatures:

    One wonders, though, why both of these structures were apparently found to be inadequate for the reception of Anglicans, and why a third way was invented? We’ll have to see.

    The weakness of personal prelatures is that they are subject to the authority of the local ordinary. Given the likely resistance of some bishops to this development, the Vatican likely did not want to risk that – especially if this is being used as a trial run for a similar structure for reincorporating the SSPX.

    But I, too, would be fascinated to learn of the thinking that led to this new organizational entity.

  23. Midwest St. Michael says:

    So far, in reading all of these threads about this interesting development with the Holy See and the TAC, I have not seen anyone bring up the following:

    What about Anglican/Episcopalian priests who *were* Catholic priests at one time – but left Mother Church so they could get married (after all, they were told in many cases while being formed in seminary that they would be able to do so – erroneously obviously).

    Will these men be allowed to again be “Catholic” but now *Anglican-use* with the new Ordinatiate? This is confusing.

  24. Bornacatholic says:

    For those of us Catholics who live in spiritually dead Dioceses, what are the chance we could get an Ordinariate?

  25. Henry Edwards says:

    Malta: I’m still curious if the Anglicans—traditional or otherwise—understand the Mass as the unbloody Sacrifice of Jesus, or just a “banquet of the Lord,”

    With Anglicans as with Catholics, I myself would not call them “traditional” unless they believed in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. But probably many Anglicans, like many Catholics nowadays, are “otherwise”.

  26. Jordanes says:

    Midwest St. Michael said: So far, in reading all of these threads about this interesting development with the Holy See and the TAC, I have not seen anyone bring up the following:

    No, your question, which no one here can definitively answer, has already been brought up a few times in these discussions at Father Zuhlsdorf’s weblog.

    What about Anglican/Episcopalian priests who were Catholic priests at one time – but left Mother Church so they could get married (after all, they were told in many cases while being formed in seminary that they would be able to do so – erroneously obviously). Will these men be allowed to again be “Catholic” but now Anglican-use with the new Ordinatiate? This is confusing.

    No, they will not be allowed to again be “Catholic.” Rather, they will again be Catholic, in truth, no quote marks. That said, it is unlikely that Catholic priests who have broken their celibacy promises and attempted marriage will be permitted to exercise their priesthood when they return to the Church. That’s the most anyone can say at this time, since these are matters for Rome to decide.

    And yes, it is confusing, but . . . not every personal ordinariate would necessarily be “Anglican Use.” In fact, it could be that none of the new ordinariates will use the “Anglican Use” liturgy. The Traditional Anglican Communion, for example, would be unlikely to accept the modified English liturgy that is known as “Anglican Use.” Their own liturgical traditions are essentially an English translation of the pre-Vatican II Mass.

  27. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Thank you, Jordanes for that explanation.

    Of course, I meant would those priests who left Mother Church to get married – and became Aglican/Episcopalian priests – be allowed again to be Catholic priests. Sorry about that.

  28. asperges says:

    Today’s (London) Times is buzzing about the latest news and is of the opinion that the Anglican Church has been upstaged and will be badly damaged and Williams will be left with a fragmented and split church. If he subscribes to all this, including the Petrine bit “willed by Christ” it follows that he will have to come over himself. But the C of E is very used to living with canundrums and paradoxes so I imagine he won’t.

    The Times leader is at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article6882968.ece (if it can be read abroad: sometimes they are locked to one area)

  29. As a clarification, while members of personal prelatures are subject to the authority of their local ordinary, a personal prelature itself is not subject to a local ordinary, as it has its own ordinary (in the case of Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Echevaria).

  30. Brian2 says:

    Malta, since nobody has answered your question, I’ll take a shot at it. The short answer is Yes, they have the same understanding of the Mass as unbloody sacrifice as the Church does.

    The longer answer would take a long time, but to sketch it: (a) the TAC believes the same about the mass as you. This entire ball got rolling when their bishops signed a copy of the Catechism affirming that they believe all that the church teaches. (b) Other Anglican groups, of which there are many and various, have varying opinions. But for the most part, Anglo-Catholics take a Catholic view of the mass (whence the name). Because the Anglican Church does not have a magesterium, nor does it claim to, there is some variety in belief. But I think that one can have a moral certainty that whatever Anglicans take advantage of this structure will have a Catholic understanding of the mass.

  31. Rob F. says:

    Ed Peters asks a very interesting question. Why not a personal Archdiocese, like a military Archdiocese? Why not a personal prelature, like Opus Dei? I don’t know the answer, of course, but I’ll respond anyway :) No doubt Mr. Peters knows more about these things than I do.

    A military Archdiocese is, of course, normally headed by an Archbishop. As of now, there are few special provision clergy (many of whom are married) whom Rome would be willing to appoint archbishop. An ordinariate certainly could be headed by a titular bishop or archbishop, but it could also be headed by some other type of prelate, a priest with more than usual authority to govern a church. Such priests exist today, for instance, prelates of abbacies nullius.

    So why not a personal prelature like Opus Dei? (The current prelate of Opus Dei just so happens to be a bishop.) Athelstan hit the nail on the head. Members of personal prelatures still need to be members of a particular church. Opus Dei members here in Pittsburgh are members of the Diocese of Pittsburgh or (more rarely) the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. Presumably, my Anglican neighbors here may soon have the opportunity of union with Rome without joining either of these particular churches. Their ordinariate will be their church, even if it just happens to be headed by a priest rather than a bishop.

  32. Federico says:

    With all due respect to Dr. Peters, there already exists one personal ordinariate: Campos, Brazil.

    I fail to see how this will be all that innovative (except, perhaps, in its breadth).

  33. Ummm…Campos is a “Personal Apostolic Administration”. Last I checked, it had not been elevated beyond that. :)

  34. Federico says:

    You’re right, Dr. Peters.

    Ah, but the question is, what is an ordinariate?

    I’d say it’s a particular church headed by a diocesan bishop or one equivalent to him under the law.

    So, an Apostolic Administration is a Particular Church. Principally this means dioceses, but under the law apostolic administrations are likened to them and the administrators are equivalent to diocesan bishops under the law (cc. 368, 381 §2).