New head of the USA Anglican Ordinariate to be named soon

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

It is exciting that on 1 January, very soon, the new Ordinariate for Anglicans will be established in the USA.

The Ordinariate will need a leader.

This is from the site Virtue Online:

Former Episcopal Bishop Jeffery Steenson to be named the first American Ordinary
Rome will formally announce appointment on New Year’s Day


By Mary Ann Mueller
Special Correspondent
December 22, 2011

Former Episcopal Bishop of the Rio Grande, Jeffery Steenson, is to be named the Ordinary when the Anglican Ordinariate is erected on January 1, 2012, sources tell VOL.

Word seeped out from the Vatican late last week that Steenson — who left The Episcopal Church in 2007 over TEC’s polity – has been tapped for the new post as the Ordinariate gets its first foothold in the United States.

The former Episcopal House of Bishops’ member has been deeply concerned with the continued fracturing of Anglicanism. The Episcopal Church’s insistence on autonomy has further distanced itself from other Anglican provinces and resulted in a shredding of the fabric of Anglicanism.

This reporter came into possession of a private communiqué late Wednesday revealing that Steenson is being tapped for the Ordinariate’s top post. A second confidential source has confirmed the communiqué.

When asked if the former Episcopal Bishop of the Rio Grande has received the nod to be the first Ordinary the source replied: “Yes, Jeffrey Steenson will be the new Ordinary.”

On Tuesday, a third source, The Bovina Bloviator Blog theorized that Steenson would get the miter.

“It is being noised Jeffrey Steenson, the former Bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande in the Episcopal Church, who was received into the Catholic Church in 2007 and is now a priest, will be named Ordinary of the American Anglican Ordinariate on January 1, 2012,” the Bovina Bloviator posted under an Ordinariate Buzz header.

Steenson’s Anglo-Catholic pedigree comes from being an Episcopal priest for 24 years including stints as the curate and rector at two Pennsylvania parishes — All Saints’ Church in Wynnewood, and Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, before going on to St. Andrew’s in Fort Worth, Texas. From there he was elected, in 2004, to be bishop coadjutor for the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande under Bishop Terence Kelshaw. The former Rio Grande bishop has the distinction of being the 1000th Episcopal Church bishop consecrated with his “lappets” stretching all the way back to the first Bishop of Connecticut, Samuel Seabury who was consecrated in 1784. Steenson’s consecrators included then Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, his predecessor Bishop Terence Kelshaw, Anglo-Catholic Bishop Clarence Pope, indigenous Bishop Mark McDonald, and ecumenical Bishop Anthony Burton from the Anglican Church of Canada. Steenson became the eighth diocesan bishop in 2005. He was an Episcopal bishop for two short years before swimming the Tiber.

The Anglo-Catholic Bishop of the Rio Grande shed the purple in December 2007 and was received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. This was done in Rome, Italy, at the Basilica of Saint Mary Major during a private ceremony officiated by Bernard Cardinal Law, the former Catholic Cardinal of Boston and then archpriest at a Roman basilica.

The former Episcopal bishop embraced the Pastoral Provision that allows for former Anglican clergy to become Roman Catholics and eventually recoup their priesthood. The Pastoral Provision is the precursor to the unfolding Anglican Ordinariate and will operate along side of it for those converting priests who do not wish to become a part of the Ordinariate yet want to become Roman Catholic.

One year after becoming a Roman Catholic, Cardinal Law ordained Steenson as a Catholic deacon. Fourteen months late, he was priested by Archbishop Michael Sheehan in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, located within the Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe, which overlaps the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande.

Since becoming Catholic, Steenson has kept a high profile in his new Catholic circle. He has been active at various levels and has been seen at several Anglican Use events including attending Anglican Use Conferences where he has been the keynote speaker or the preacher at the solemn high Mass. In addition, he has been actively working hand-in-glove with American Catholic bishops as they hammered out the details of how the Anglicanorum Coetibus would be implemented in the United States.


Read the rest there.

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  1. adeoamata says:

    What a great expression- “swimming the Tiber.” I’ve not heard that before.

  2. Norah says:

    This reporter came into possession of a private communiqué late Wednesday…

    If it was a private communique it should have remained private and, with respect, Fr Z should not have published this rumour.

    We orthodox Catholics would criticise the “scoop them” mentality of others in the media but go right along with it when we agree witht the not yet public material.

  3. JonPatrick says:

    Interesting. Back in my Episcopal Church days, I used to sometimes attend Good Shepherd in Rosemont. Good Shepherd and All Saints were conservative and orthodox in an increasingly liberal ECUSA. I was starting to fall in love with the kind of liturgy that as a Catholic, I did not find again until I started attending the EF. I pray that Fr. Steenson will be successful in bringing more of the Anglican faithful into communion with Rome.

  4. Sid says:

    A beautiful Christmas present for Anglicans and for those of us who have a place in our hearts for the Anglican tradition! And remember that the salvation of souls comes first: There are some who will become Catholics by entering through the Ordinariate’s door. Here in Dixie, some hesitate at the the regular Roman Rite’s door, because it seems alien. Large parts of the South were mission territory for The Church up until quite recently. Yet Anglicans have been with us since Jamestown.

  5. James Locke says:

    I had the tremendous privilege and pleasure of being taught Western Theological Traditions by this man in Rome during the Spring of 2008. He is kind, brilliant, and a true leader. I got to know him and his family very well while I was there and was able to attend his first mass. Such a great man as he is definitely deserving of such a position. He has no real desire for power but rather rises to the occasion when it is given to him. Pray for him, for he will need our prayers in these years that come.

  6. JohnB says:

    He’s going to have a lot on his plate. As a member of an Ordinariate-bound parish, I’ve been able to see some of the situation firsthand: it’s a fairly common view among Ordinariate-bound laity that the Catholic Church has finally seen the light and will be joining the Anglicans. Add to this the idea (at least in our parish) that we Anglo-Catholics have always been more Catholic than the Pope, so little Romanisms like the need for confession, the various things that constitute grave matter, and the authority of the Pope are legalisms that we don’t need to take seriously. A lot of us haven’t quite woken up to reality here, and it’s beginning to cause problems. I remember having lunch with our senior warden before our weekly catechism class, and he was simply astonished that I was taking the material seriously.

    The work has only just started, I’m afraid.

  7. Toronto AU Catholic says:

    JohnB: I had to reread your posting twice to realize the irony in your tone! Yes, there is a danger Anglo-Catholics will approach Anglicanorum Coetibus with preconceived notions of a “superior” pre-Vatican II catholicity and/or the contrary view that the Church will “progess” towards increased tolerance. For that reason, the process of catechesis in bringing in groups of Anglicans is important to ensure they come in without any lingering misunderstandings (not to mention creating bonds of affection with others already within the RCC).

  8. vmanning says:

    Catechized by Bernard Cardinal Law ? Married with children ? “…receive the honor due a bishop…”? and “…the Catholic Church is not the church of last resort when all else fails”? ( interview). Forgive me for tempering this “success” with a bit of skepticism about how this will all work out.And not just the burden of family health insurance coverage for married priests with children.For me, at least, there’s something a little troubling here, but it’s apparently “theologically incorrect” to even raise one eyebrow. Isn’t conversion an individual matter? If so, why all the pomp and special treatment? Is there an obstacle to Episcopalians converting one-by one? Those who qualify for orders, as any cradle Catholic might, should go forward. This seems preferential.I don’t think the last laborer in the field is supposed to get more than the first, just the same.

  9. Toronto AU Catholic says:

    vmanning: I’d think the Parable of the Prodigal Son is more apt here! In any event, Rome is simply recognizing in Anglo-Catholicism the many “elements of sanctification and of truth” that have existed outside her visible structure (laboring too in the field) and to the extent such elements wish to formally join the Church while keeping aspects of their Anglican heritage, then these are treasures belonging to the entire Church.

  10. JohnB says:

    Well, there’s also the prodigal son. If healing schism is involved — which it seems to me it is — there’s some cause for celebration. There’s also some similarity with the various eastern rites, although the Anglican Use is derived from the Roman rite, and also with the various national Catholic church strains. So it seems to me that there’s scriptural and historical basis for what’s being done. The problem is that many of the parishes coming into the Ordinariate are coming in from continuing Anglican “ratholes” (as one Ordinariate-bound Episcopal priest has put it) and are very much used to making things up as they go along. There’s much to be hoped for.

  11. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Just two thoughts: 1) “recoup” their priesthood? No such possibility, since as Anglicans they were not priests. 2) After becoming a Catholic, Cardinal Law ….. how funny to have a non-Catholic serving for many years as the Archbishop of Boston!

  12. vmanning — We’ve already had the pastoral provision for ordaining married ex-Protestant ex-clergymen as priests, if they are judged worthy and ready, since the days of Pope John Paul II. And it’s worked out well for many parishes.

    As for the rest, if you go and read the Pope’s documents setting up the Ordinariates, you’ll see that this exact situation is set up and approved. Bishops and abbots already can both serve as Ordinaries in normal diocesan-ish situations, and when they do, they have bishop-ish panoplies and powers. The documents forbid married ex-Protestant priests from becoming bishops; so for the Ordinariate, the pope decided that priests could also serve as Ordinaries. It’s a very medieval solution; and I believe mission territories in the past have had priests serve as Ordinaries, temporarily and otherwise.

    Of course, given the “treaty provisions” of the Ordinariate, you also have the very medieval situation where all the (male only!) ex-Protestant ex-bishops in the Ordinariate were given the right to bear bishops’ arms and such if they became Catholic, whether or not they became Ordinaries (or even priests). The ex-bishops apparently have decided not to exercise these rights, but the generosity of the Holy Father in such matters is fitting and beautiful.

    Why? Because sometimes it’s giving up the little things that holds back souls from making big leaps of reconciliation. The Holy Father is taking away people’s excuses, by giving them “extra goodies” that make up for some of what they had. It’s a very good way to take away excuses, because it’s hard not to cross a line that advances toward you!

  13. frjeremiah says:

    Fr Jeffrey Steenson is indeed a lovely gentleman, full of humility and kindness.

  14. Will Elliott says:

    vmanning – Father Steenson’s reception into the church and diaconal ordination by Cardinal Law is highly appropriate. While Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeaux, Bishop Bernard Law served as the Ecclesiastical Delegate to the Holy See for the Pastoral Provision. Many of the existing Anglican Use parishes that plan to transfer to the Ordinariate date to the time of Bishop Law’s oversight of the Pastoral Provision.

  15. glennbcnu says:

    Chris Garton-Zavesky said: “`recoup’ their priesthood? No such possibility, since as Anglicans they were not priests.”

    sigh…in the Anglican Church, yes they are priests. In the Catholic Church, no they are not, at least not until they are ordained in the Catholic Church, then yes they are Catholic Priests. Each denomination of Christianity, for good of for ill, can determine what constitutes a priest, minister, pastor, etc. for their own jurisdiction and whether they have been validly ordained, called, installed, etc. I am not sure how a (insert any denomination here), (priest, minister, pastor) would react to someone outside their denomination telling them that they are not a priest, minister, pastor. As a parishioner in a Anglican Use parish (and their Catholic priest concurred), likened former Anglican priests coming into the Catholic Church, and seeking ordination as a Catholic Priest, to that of lawyers. In one State you have passed the bar exam and are permitted to exercise your function as a lawyer in that State. If you move to another State, you must pass the bar exam in the State that you are moving to. You are still a lawyer regardless, you just can’t practice as one until you are authorised to. Further, it has been the practice of the Catholic Church over the past 30 plus years to REQUIRE that former Anglican priests, who are ordained in the Catholic Church to have as their ordination date, that of their Anglican Orders. Not their Catholic Orders. That says a lot in and of itself. Finally, in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, Section VI. Para. 1 states “Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfil the requisites established by canon law…”. Seems to me that the Apostolic Constitution recognises the ministry of the three Holy Orders in the Anglican Church. The Apostolic Constitution was signed by the Patriarch of the West, the Bishop of Rome, the Holy Father, the Pope, Benedictus PP XVI.

    With All Charity and Humility,

  16. Stephen Matthew says:

    I hate to rock the boat, but I think Glenn has got it half right and half wrong.
    I am likely to make a hash of this explanation, so forgive me for making this a bit messy, and hopefully someone both clearer and kinder than I can jump in and help.

    On the one hand, we generally give people their customary title such as “Reverend” or “Pastor”, mostly because it would be rude, offensive, and very clumsy in speach or writing to do otherwise. That does not, however, indicate that we think they validly hold such honors, titles, positions, etc in any way.

    As a general matter, the Catholic Church still holds that Anglican holy orders, are totally null and completely void, there is no actual real sacrament conferred by their ceremonies for orders, and their bishops, priests, and deacons are not actually such. However, we still customarily refer to them by their Anglican titles, mostly because it is much simpler and it is also a gesture of respect and ecumenism. (It should be noted there may be individual cases where Anglicans do hold valid holy orders for various complex reasons… but that isn’t normally the case and confuses the issue.)

    Each Sacrament of Holy Orders, each particular “level” of Ordination, can only be conferred validly on a person once in their life. Since the Catholic Church judges Anglican ordinations as invalid (in general) that is why they are ordained when they enter the Catholic Church. An Eastern Orthodox priest who was known and proven to be validly ordained would not be re-ordained, for there is no such thing as re-ordaining in the Catholic view. In cases where a person was likely to have been validly ordained, but it can not be proven with certainty, they would be “conditionally ordained” which is to say that ordination would be offered just in case the prior one was not valid.

    The analogy of lawyers in differents states would really be more like the difference between priests in different diocese or different ritual Churches or different religious orders (all inside the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church in union with the Pope of Rome). There are special processes for someone validly ordained to be given authority to exercise ministry in some other place or to transfer their facaulties and such like. In this case, just like in the case of a those who practice law, they are what they are in fact, it is just a matter of getting the paperwork squared away so they can practice in some other place.

    In the case of Anglicans coming to the Catholic Church (excuse this for sounding harsh, for it is not intended as an insult in any way) would be like someone who has a “law degree” that is not accredited or a “law license” from some illegitmate government who then is granted an accredited degree and real license. They went from appearing to be a lawyer, and thinking they were a lawyer, but not actually being a real lawyer and thus not actually being authorized to practice law; to becoming a real lawyer with real powers to practice law.

    I hope that clears things up a bit, but I fear I may have only muddled the matter.

    By the way, neither I, nor the Catholic Church, say that Anglicans don’t in some sense engage in a real sort of ministry, just that it isn’t the true and full sacramental ministry as intended by and found within the Catholic Church. Anglicans may well do a fine job teaching, preaching, praying, and even baptizing, and they certainly can do a fine job of singing and know something of grand art, architecture, music, and liturgy, but that isn’t quite the full package, so to say.

  17. Bill Russell says:

    The Ordinary will be a very small affair, And unless the Ordinary is an actual bishop, the Ordinariate will only serve to “grandfather” in remnant Episcopalians and it will gradually disappear after a generation.

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