Do I hear an “Amen!”?


In accordance with the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus of Pope [of Christian Unity] Benedict XVI (November 4, 2009) and after careful consultation with the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has today erected a Personal Ordinariate within the territory of England and Wales for those groups of Anglican clergy and faithful who have expressed their desire to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church. The Decree of Erection specifies that the Ordinariate will be known as the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and will be placed under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman. [Note that the CDF set this up, not Benedict XVI directly.]

A Personal Ordinariate is a canonical structure that provides for corporate reunion in such a way that allows former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of their distinctive Anglican patrimony. With this structure, the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus seeks to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be fully integrated into the Catholic Church.

For doctrinal reasons the Church does not, in any circumstances, allow the ordination of married men as Bishops. However, the Apostolic Constitution does provide, under certain conditions, for the ordination as Catholic priests of former Anglican married clergy. Today at Westminster Cathedral in London, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, ordained to the Catholic priesthood three former Anglican Bishops: Reverend Andrew Burnham, Reverend Keith Newton, and Reverend John Broadhurst.

Also today Pope Benedict XVI has nominated Reverend Keith Newton as the first Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Together with Reverend Burnham and Reverend Broadhurst, Reverend Newton will oversee the catechetical preparation of the first groups of Anglicans in England and Wales who will be received into the Catholic Church together with their pastors at Easter, and to accompany the clergy preparing for ordination to the Catholic priesthood around Pentecost.

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 initiative leading to the publication of the Apostolic Constitution and the erection of this Personal Ordinariate came from a number of different groups of Anglicans who have declared that they share the common Catholic faith as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and accept the Petrine ministry as something Christ willed for the Church. For them, the time has now come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion.


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  1. TJerome says:

    Now this is my kind of ecumenism! Pope Benedict has given the Church a great treasure by this action.

  2. bmadamsberry says:

    Ironically, I wrote a blog post over this subject last night, only to wake up to the announcement that it had happend! I had to go back and change some of the wording. But, interestingly, I had already chosen the picture to accompany the post before I heard who the patron would be… an icon of Blessed John Henry Newman.

  3. Now Thank We All Our God!

    Pope Benedict XVI IS the Pope of Christian Unity!

  4. Sid says:

    Excellent indeed! This is the most important day in the history of English speaking Catholics since the re-establishment of the Catholic dioceses in England in 1850 following Catholic Emancipation in 1832. And for the first time since 1535, Catholic Anglicans are possible and are realized.

    I was so thrilled when, last Sept during the coverage of the service at Westminster Abbey, as Holy Father crossed the threshold, the reporter solemnly announced “And now, for the first time in history, a pope steps into Westminster Abbey.”

    God bless Good Pope Benedict! And may Catholic Anglicans and their patrimony enrich the life of The Church!

  5. Dr. Eric says:

    May this be the first step to a Catholic Canterbury!

    Many years to Fr. Newton and the Ordinariate!

    I’m still confused as to what forms of worship the Ordinariate and its parishes will use.

  6. Was the ordination celebrated according to the ordinary form of the Roman rite?

  7. Supertradmum says:

    Thank you, God, for inspiring both the Anglicans and us to join like this. Truly, the Holy Spirit is moving in England, Mary’s Dowry. This is so exciting. I saw the news on the BBC this morning.

    This will make the Catholic Church more conservative in England and Wales.

  8. Joseph-Mary says:

    I am so happy!

    Deo Gratias!

  9. MissOH says:

    Wonderful news. I am hoping to be able to attend an Anglican Rite mass in my are that will be held later this month at an Anglo-Catholic church here in the US preparing to enter the church under Anglicanorum coetibus . I am pray that those entering the church will help contribute toward the improvement of liturgy and worship in the mass. Deo gratias!

  10. PghCath says:

    A great day for those directly involved and for the universal Church as well. May the Anglicans who join us bring their love of reverent liturgy into the Catholic Church.

  11. Fr. Basil says:

    I pray that an Ordinariate is established in the USA soon.

    BTW–what does this portend for the Order of Corporate Reunion?

  12. puma19 says:

    Some personal reflections from a very historic morning in Westminster Cathedral:

    I rose early in order to be at the mother church of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales this morning. There was going to be a very historic liturgy taking place at Westminster Cathedral. On arrival just before 10am the cathedral was half full. By 1030 as the liturgy commenced, it was packed to capacity with over 2000 people present. There was a long procession of priests and 5 bishops, led by Archbishop Nichols along with the ordinandi, the three former Anglican bishops who became Catholics only two weeks ago, January 1st. Two days ago they were ordained deacons at the London seminary.

    I noticed a number Anglican bishops (in suits with pectoral crosses) moving around with their wives in the cathedral and thought ‘were they also contemplating crossing the Tiber’? Well we will have to see. Am sure some more will.

    It was a remarkable Mass, led by Archbishop Nichols who read out the decree from Cardinal Levada establishing the Ordinariate under the name of Our lady of Walsingham and patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman.

    But amidst the obvious joy of the whole liturgy you could fee the historic importance being celebrated. The Archbishop told us all that this was indeed ‘Church history in the making’ and as I looked towards the sanctuary filled with priests and bishops loads of thoughts rushed through my mind. Henry VIII must be turning in his tomb; Cranmer must be recollecting himself. I marvelled that on the sanctuary were three men who only weeks earlier had been bishops in the Church of England. Now as ‘infant Catholics’ of only 14 days, they were being ordained as priests, promising obedience and respect to their Ordinary.

    At the rite of clothing the new preists with their chasubles, their wives (3) came forward from the congregation and handed them over to the newly ordained and kissed their priestly husbands. That in itself was historic.

    The archbishop gave a very moving and poignant homily pointing out the historic nature of the ceremony and how the Cathedral had never seen anything like it before.

    But there was a very moving moment at the end, just before the procession left the sanctuary. The archbishop removed his mitre and handed over his crozier, then knelt on the carpet. each newly-ordained former bishop stepped forward and blessed the kneeling arhcbishop. It was a very incredible moment (this usually takes place out of the public eye in the sacristy after priestly ordinations).

    As the long procession made its way to the great door, a huge round of applause went up from the congregation. It continued until the bishops reached the end of the long aisle.

    It was truly an historic day for the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom and indeed for the Church beyond the Channel.

  13. puma19 says:

    Could anyone enlighten me as to the meaning of the following article from the Vatican decree:
    From Article 11: Just what ensignia does this mean? Skull cap, ring, mitre and crozier?
    (If so, it means they can wear but are not actually a Catholic bishop ? yes, no?

    A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate and who has not been ordained as a bishop in the Catholic Church, may request permission from the Holy See to use the insignia of the episcopal office.

  14. Fr. Basil says:

    The zuchetto (skullcap) is not peculiar to bishops, even if in the last few decades only they have usually worn them.

    I would imagine that “episcopal insignia” means ring, mitre, crozier, and pectoral cross. Abbots and certain other major religious superiors may use these as well.

  15. Dr. Eric says:

    “Latin Rite clergy other than bishops, in particular any who are abbots or apostolic prefects, may wear pontifical items. Mitre, crosier and ring are bestowed on an abbot at his blessing and the pectoral cross is a customary part of an abbatial habit. There are limitations as to where and when abbots may wear pontificalia, for example only within his monastery. The practice of granting other clergy (e.g. the highest level of monsignor) special permission to wear such items as a mark of honour has almost disappeared.”

  16. BobP says:

    Whatever happened to Latin being preserved in the liturgy?

  17. Kerry says:

    Our Lady of Walsingham. Oh wow!!

  18. Re: insignia, I would assume that in England, it would still be of fair importance for an ex-Anglican ex-bishop to be able to use that heraldic insignia associated with bishops. Whether or not they use it. Hmm. But obviously, you’d have to ask a herald about this sort of thing.

  19. Prof. Basto says:

    Has anyone seen among the readership seen the text of the formal decree of erection?

    I would like to read it, if possible, but I couldn’t find it. Several websites carry this story without providing its text or a link to it.

    In particular, I would like to know details such as, which church will serve as the Ordinariate’s principal church.

    I would appreciate any help in finding out the full text of the official, formal decree of erection.

  20. Laura R. says:

    Amen indeed Father Z., and Alleluia!

  21. Prof. Basto says:

    Episcopal insignia such as mitre, crozier, pectoral cross, etc may be worn, even after the post-conciliar restrictions, by a few people who are given by law the privilege of using pontificals. They are, especially:

    – Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, who, even not being bishops, can pontificate.

    – Territorial abbots (formerly known as abbots nullius dioceseos);

    – Regular abbots in certain cases;

    Now, the complementary norms to the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus opens this possibility for priests of an Ordinariate who prior to converting held office as Anglican “Bishops”.

  22. stpetric says:

    “Together with Reverend Burnham and Reverend Broadhurst, Reverend Newton will oversee…”

    Reverend” So-and-So? Is there some reason “Father” isn’t being used here? “Reverend So-and-So” isn’t good English; it isn’t typical Anglican use; and it surely isn’t normal Catholic use!

  23. New Sister says:

    I am glad for this mostly because I defer to your [Father Z’s & Traditionalist bloggers so learned in the Faith] opinion on such matters… but personally, I still do not understand why these Anglicans would not convert anyway. I remain unsettled by comments that they left “because the Anglican communion would not accommodate them on ‘ordination’ of women ‘bishops’.” To my minimally learned mind, their stated reasons [at least as the press reports them] seem contrary to the Gospel – to sell all we have in order to buy the field in which the treasure is buried. Leaving the Anglican communion because they weren’t being cut a good enough deal unsettles me – do they regard their former “ordination” as valid? (Does Rome?) Do they love and support the Holy Father because of the deal he cut them, or because he is the Vicar of Christ? If the latter, why was a “deal” even required? [I’m astounded by our Holy Father’s compassion to welcoming them home, but it seems to cloud the situation, too.]
    In the end, I love and trust the Holy Father, Pope of Christian Unity, implicitly, and your collective enthusiasm helps me brush my doubts aside and be glad for this with you. For even if the reasons why Anglican clergy come to Rome are imperfect, I melt with joy to see separated brethren back home – Deo gratias!

  24. FredM says:

    In the years since I became a Catholic this is the first time I’ve heard someone say there is supposed to be a “the” before Reverend or the adjective before it.

    incorrect: Most Reverend Timothy Dolan
    correct: The Most Reverend Timothy Dolan

    If we could only convince a billion others to use it this way.


  25. New Sister says:

    P.S. from the BBC report: did the wives really have to come up and publicly kiss the priests at their ordination? I don’t know that I can get used to the married priest situation… it feels creepy.

  26. Katherine says:

    For doctrinal reasons the Church does not, in any circumstances, allow the ordination of married men as Bishops…

    ????????? Doctrinal? Really? Where there not married bishops (and Popes) in the early church as well as married bishops at times in the (“Nestorian”) Church of the East and the Old Catholic Communion recognized by Rome?

  27. Augustine says:

    The married bishops bit sounds weird to me too. I know it’s been the universal custom of the Church to have unmarried bishops since about the fifth or sixth century, but I’ve *never* heard it described as a matter of doctrine.

  28. amartineau91 says:

    Can anyone translate “Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian unity,” into Latin by chance? Thanks.

  29. Fr Deacon Daniel says:

    Out of curiosity, what is the reason for establishing the Ordinariate through the CDF?

  30. Supertradmum says:

    Deacon Daniel,

    I would guess that going through the CDF is faster than going through the National Bishops’ Conference AND it is an ex official member of the Conference and therefore not directly under the Conference. Secondly, as the Ordinariate is an ecclesiastical jurisdiction outside diocesan boundaries, it makes sense that the CDF would take charge. Thirdly, Fr. Marcus Stock wrote that
    because of the independence of the Ordinariate, it would make sense that it is under the CDF. Here is a quotation from Fr Stock:

    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.

    May I add that it is easier for the CDF to organize all of this directly, rather than going through other channels, such as the Bishops’ Conference. The entire impetus has been from Rome from the beginning and should stay there. As you know, the Congregation deals with doctrinal issues, among other things, and is a place for such discussions which will follow concerning the Book of Common Prayer, etc. You probably know that Cardinal Levada is the Prefect of the CDF.

    I recommended this blog before for clarifications and also advertized days of explanation for people to get to those.

  31. Katherine says:

    It is my understanding that at least in the United States, Ordinariate parishes are allowed to practice trusteeship. Is that correct?

  32. irishgirl says:

    What a wonderful and historic name for the Ordinariate in England and Wales: ‘Our Lady of Walsingham, under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman’! Both are looking down from Heaven and smiling at this!
    And King Henry VIII is turning in his grave at Windsor!
    Deo Gratias! Our Papa Benedict XVI IS the ‘Pope of Christian Unity’!

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