The Apostolic Constitution which describes the provisions for traditionally minded Anglicans has finally been issued.
The first sentence:
In recent times the Holy Spirit has moved groups of Anglicans to petition repeatedly and insistently to be received into full Catholic communion individually as well as corporately.
Here is the press release:
On October 20, 2009, Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, announced a new provision responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church.
The Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus which is published today introduces a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow the above mentioned groups to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. At the same time, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is publishing a set of Complementary Norms which will guide the implementation of this provision. [That will be the nuts and bolts document.]
This Apostolic Constitution opens a new avenue for the promotion of Christian unity while, at the same time, granting legitimate diversity in the expression of our common faith. It represents not an initiative on the part of the Holy See, but a generous response from the Holy Father [NB: this is a response] to the legitimate aspirations of these Anglican groups. The provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church.
The possibility envisioned by the Apostolic Constitution for some married clergy within the Personal Ordinariates does not signify any change in the Church’s discipline of clerical celibacy. According to the Second Vatican Council, priestly celibacy is a sign and a stimulus for pastoral charity and radiantly proclaims the reign of God (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1579).
Some key points of the document:
- The document first lays out theological starting points.
- Note that the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith is setting up the Ordinarites.
- The Ordinariates are "within the confines of the territorial boundaries of a particular Conference of Bishops in consultation with that same Conference" and there can be more than one within those territories.
- The ordinariates are juridically comparable to dioceses.
- The CCC is the reference point for what those who belong must profess to believe.
- Other dicasteries of the Holy See oversee specific spheres of interest. For example, if there is a liturgical question, then the CDW would be involved.
- The Ordinariates can use either the Roman Rite or the books proper to the Anglican tradition that are approved by the Holy See.
- The Ordinariates can "as a rule" admit only celibate men to priesthood. Individual exceptions can be made on a case by case basis.
- The Ordinariates can incardinate and they can set up seminaries.
- They must make ad limina visits.
- They can set up their own tribunals or use the diocesan tribunals.