1st Bishop appointed for an Anglican Ordinariate

From a Press Release of the Anglican Ordinariate of St. Peter for these USA HERE


  • Bishop-elect Steven Lopes to be introduced at press conference today in Houston
  • Rome sends top official to North America to lead structure equivalent to a diocese
  • Vatican also approves use of new texts for the celebration of Mass

HOUSTON — Pope Francis has named the Rev. Monsignor Steven J. Lopes to be the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter: a structure equivalent to a diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition.

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was established by Pope Benedict [the Pope of Christian Unity] on Jan. 1, 2012, with its headquarters located in Houston, Texas. Founded to serve Roman Catholics across the U.S. and Canada, it is the first diocese of its kind in North America.

The Ordinariate was created to provide a path for groups of Anglicans to become fully Roman Catholic, while retaining elements of their worship traditions and spiritual heritage in their union with the Holy Roman Church.

Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, the leader of the Ordinariate since 2012, will introduce Bishop-elect Lopes at a news conference at 10:30 a.m. today at the Chancery Offices of the Ordinariate in Houston.

With this appointment, Pope Francis affirms and amplifies Pope Benedict’s vision for Christian unity, in which diverse expressions of one faith are joined together in the Church. By naming Bishop-elect Lopes, the Pope has confirmed that the Ordinariate is a permanent, enduring part of the Catholic Church, like any other diocese — one that is now given a bishop so that it may deepen its contribution to the life of the Church and the world.

Bishop Lopes’ appointment comes just five days before the Ordinariate begins using Divine Worship: The Missal, a new book of liturgical texts for the celebration of Mass in the Personal Ordinariates around the globe. The texts were approved by the Vatican for use beginning the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29, 2015.

Bishop-elect Lopes was directly involved in developing these texts for worship; since 2011, he has served as the executive coordinator of the Vatican commission, Anglicanae Traditiones, which produced the new texts.

The new missal is a milestone in the life of the Ordinariate, since the Ordinariate’s mission is particularly expressed through the reverence and beauty of its worship, which shares the treasury of the Anglican liturgical and musical traditions with the wider Catholic community.

Pope Benedict’s vision for Christian unity and the concrete ways that Pope Francis is implementing that vision demonstrate that unity in faith allows for a vibrant diversity in the expression of that faith. The Ordinariate is a key ecumenical venture for the Catholic Church and a concrete example of this unity in diversity.


Steven Joseph Lopes, 40, is a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. As the bishop-elect of the Ordinariate, he will reside in Houston, Texas.

Bishop-elect Lopes was born and raised in Fremont, Calif. The only child of Dr. José de Oliveira Lopes (deceased) and Barbara Jane Lopes, he attended Catholic schools in the Golden State, including the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco. He earned licentiate and doctoral degrees in sacred theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

He was ordained a priest in June 2001 and spent the first several years of his priesthood as an associate pastor at two parishes: St. Patrick Catholic Church in San Francisco and St. Anselm Catholic Church in Ross, Calif.

Since 2005, he has served as an official of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office responsible for promoting and preserving Catholic teaching. He was named a monsignor in 2010.

His family includes his mother, Barbara Jane; his step-father, Abilio Dias; five step-brothers; and a step-sister.

Bishop-elect Lopes follows in the footsteps of Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, who was named the first Ordinary (or head) of the Ordinariate when it was established in 2012. Msgr. Steenson’s retirement from his position as Ordinary is effective today, upon Pope Francis’ appointment of Bishop-elect Lopes. However, Msgr. Steenson has been appointed Administrator of the Ordinariate and will continue to oversee its day-to-day activities until Feb. 2, 2016.

Bishop-elect Lopes is the first bishop to be named for any of the three Personal Ordinariates in the world: Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom; the Chair of Saint Peter in the United States and Canada; and Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia.

The ordination of Bishop-elect Lopes is planned for Feb. 2, 2016 in Houston.

A biographical summary, photos, statements from Bishop-elect Lopes and Ordinary Emeritus Msgr. Steenson and other materials are online at www.ordinariate.net/bishop-elect-lopes.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. TomG says:

    I wonder if Fr. Z might consider re-posting his previous words about access to the Ordinariate parish life by Catholics not previously attached to Anglicanism/Episcopalianism.

  2. Benedicite says:

    Is the new bishop a member of the Ordinariate?

  3. aviva meriam says:

    Prayers for Bishop-Elect Lopes.

  4. glennbcnu says:

    No he is not. And as he is not a former Anglican, he will not ever be a member.

  5. By seating a bishop as the head…Pope Francis seems to be setting in concrete what many thought would be a temporary arrangement that would dissolve on its own.

    He is a man of surprises, that’s for sure. I would have bet coin that this effort, started by Pope Benedict, would be allowed to wither. Putting a bishop in can only mean good things for our united Anglican tradition bretheren–it means they are lively, active, and becoming more fully united with the Barque of Peter.

    Good news, all around.

  6. Benedicite says:

    There are rules about who can be a member of the Ordinariate- presumably to retain the Patrimony.
    But the head of the Ordinariate in North America doesn’t have to be a member. Isn’t that odd?
    Perhaps the rules for membership should be revised to allow other cradle Catholics in?
    I wonder if “becoming more fully united with the Barque of Peter” might mean being assimilated into the church of “Father Lovebeads at Our Lady Queen of Hugs”.

  7. Papabile says:

    I am going for the sour grapes award today.

    First,I am very happy for our Ordinariate brethren.

    Second… Over 25 years and FSSP has had no Pro was raised to the Episcopacy hat I am aware of….. And, of course, I am not speaking w/o th a Bishop that would have jurisdiction over them, as they are not necessarily organized that way…. But ANY Priest to th e Episcopacy.

  8. Papabile says:

    I hate my phone autocorrect. I assume people will get what I was saying above.

  9. David Zampino says:

    I think that it is great! This announcement, along with the promulgation of “Divine Worship: The Missal” will go a long way toward strengthening and stabilizing the Ordinariate.

  10. Papabile says:

    And, David Zampino’s response is, probably, the absolutely correct one. I just feel sour about this for the FSSP.

  11. Titus says:

    Of course Lopes is a member of the Ordinariate. That’s like “is the Pope Catholic?” He would be by virtue of the office even if he were not before: you can’t be the head unless you are part of the body.

    Now, it’s a tad strange that Francis appointed someone who was not already a member to that post. And that yields the anomaly that the Ordinary would not have qualified for membership by the standard channels. But “by appointment of the Pope” rather cuts through qualifications like that: and I don’t say that antinomianally. It’s just that the rules for joining are, well, rules for how one goes about signing up oneself. They don’t purport to be rules about who the Pope can appoint ordinary.

  12. Geoffrey says:

    I would not expect an FSSP priest to be named a bishop. The FSSP are dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. A bishop would have to shepherd all of his flock, not just those who attend the EF.

  13. tgarcia2 says:

    Papabile: why do you feel sour? I don’t see how this would hurt FSSP and can only help those leaving the Anglican church coming into union with the Catholic Church.

  14. Spade says:

    To counter the sour grapes, from wikipedia:
    “The Fraternity’s pontifical-right status means that it has been established by the Pope and is answerable only to him in terms of its operation (through the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei), rather than to local bishops”

    So, uh, doesn’t that mean that the Pope himself IS the FSSP’s bishop?

    Plus the ordinariate was set up from the start to be the equivalent of a diocese. Which means it should have a Bishop. It isn’t a society or a fraternity.

  15. TWF says:

    There is an EF only bishop with an EF only flock- the apostolic administrator of St John Vianney in Campos, Brazil.

  16. jschicago says:

    Wouldn’t the best candidate to have as the Ordinary for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter be Fr. George Rutler?!?!? He was an Episcopalian priest, never married, and ordained a Roman Catholic priest by Pope St. John Paul II many years ago. He knows both sides very well and has first hand experience of crossing the Tiber which would be useful to Episcopalians.

  17. Will Elliott says:

    Spade: So, uh, doesn’t that mean that the Pope himself IS the FSSP’s bishop?

    The FSSP — just like other orders, congregations, & institutes — doesn’t need a bishop to lead it. It is lead by its superior general, the Very Rev. John Berg, FSSP.

  18. Papabile says:

    I thought I made clear that I wasn’t speaking about a Bishop necessarily just leading the FSSP — though that would be nice, and a virtual fulfillment of the agreement that Lefebvre reneged on. It would be a good sign to those who attached themselves to Peter, trusting in him — particularly since their size has been growing rapidly,and is larger than orders with Bishops…

    No,I was pointing out that NONE of the FSSP priests have ever been raised to the Episcopacy. Rome seems to have no problems repositories ordered Priests, w/o th their own proper rites, to head dioceses, and not just their orders.

    In fact, a regular latin as a Bishop of the Ordinariate is a case in point.

  19. Mac_in_Alberta says:

    As the press release states, including Fr. Zed’s comment:
    “The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was established by Pope Benedict [the Pope of Christian Unity] on Jan. 1, 2012, with its headquarters located in Houston, Texas. Founded to serve Roman Catholics across the U.S. and Canada, it is the first diocese of its kind in North America.”
    That is North America, not just “those USA”.

  20. glennbcnu says:

    As was made very clear to me by Msg. Steenson, no former Anglican/Episcopalian will EVER be made a bishop in the Ordinariate. Rome will not permit it. Full stop.

  21. acardnal says:

    Rev.Msgr. Lopes’ press conference from November 24. VIDEO HERE

  22. anj says:

    @glennbcnu – that makes no sense. Newman? Manning? There are plenty of famous examples.

  23. glennbcnu says:

    ANJ wrote: “that makes no sense. Newman? Manning? There are plenty of famous examples.”

    Please name one example in the ORDINARIATE. Thanks. That is what I was commenting on.

  24. anj says:

    @glennbeau – still makes no sense: All Ordinariates have existed for 5 years at most. All were led by former Anglican bishops or priests that were married until a few days ago. The fact that a Roman rite priest with no Anglican priors was named for the US bishop does not a rule make. In these days, I can think of Bishop Peter Elliot as one example of a Roman rite bishop who was a former Anglican that has a keen interest in the Ordinariates. There is absolutely no reason that someone like him could not be named the Bishop of an Ordinariate. If he can be the Bishop of a Roman Rite diocese, forbidding him to the Bishop of the Ordinariate (once again) makes no sense.

  25. glennbcnu says:

    ANJ wrote: ” The fact that a Roman rite priest with no Anglican priors was named for the US bishop does not a rule make.”

    I understand that. Please know that the statement from Msg. Steenson was made to me in April of 2012 which of course predates the appointment of the new bishop to the Ordinariate. The rule was made prior to the appointment (during the implementation of the Ordinariates) and the appointment confirms to me that what I was told is the mind of Holy Mother Church.

    ANJ wrote: “There is absolutely no reason that someone like him could not be named the Bishop of an Ordinariate. ”

    Yes, there are reasons why a former Anglican will not be named a Bishop of the Ordinariate and that reason is that Rome does not wish to make a former Anglican a Bishop in the Ordinariate. Only Latin Priests or Bishops will be made or named Bishops of the Ordinariate. Full stop.

    ANJ wrote: “If he can be the Bishop of a Roman Rite diocese, forbidding him to the Bishop of the Ordinariate (once again) makes no sense.”

    Yes, you are right that it does not make any sense, however, that is what Rome desires and has been conveyed to me. The Roman Catholic Church does not always do that which makes sense to us, but in Her wisdom She makes the decisions which must be made, accepted, and followed. There were many things, decisions, and hoops to jump through, that did not make any sense to many of those who entered the Roman Catholic Church through the use of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. However, if a former Anglican wished to be a Roman Catholic in the Ordinariate, they did what was required of them.

  26. jhayes says:

    Glennbenu, I think the issue is that while married anglican/episcopal clergy can become
    Catholic priests (with Vatican approval on a case-by-case basis), that provision does not extend to married clergy becoming Catholic bishops. That is consistent with Orthodox practice in which already-married men can be ordained priests but only unmarried men can be bishops.

    The initial ordinaries of the UK and US ordinariates were married anglican/episcopal bishops who could not become Catholic bishops for that reason. Rather than displacing those existing leaders, an intermediate solution was found in which they became Monsignors, had the right to wear the attire of Bishops and were full members of the national bishops conferences.

    I don’t think there is any rule that would prevent an unmarried priest of the Ordinariate becoming a Bishop, although there may be concern that it could be seen as undercutting the existing leadership roles of the Monsignors who were formerly bishops.

  27. jhayes says:

    TomG, this is from the website of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter:

    How do laity become members of the Ordinariate?
    Lay people who are not yet Catholic and who wish to join the Ordinariate are required to undergo a period of preparation; apply in writing to join the Ordinariate; and to be confirmed as Catholics — just as others entering the Church do. The formation process currently includes study of the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults. Former Anglicans and Methodists who have already become Catholic and wish to join the Ordinariate may submit an application form to the Ordinariate.

    Can lifelong Catholics join the Ordinariate?
    Any Catholic may attend Ordinariate liturgies and functions, just as members of the Ordinariate can attend liturgies and functions at any Catholic parish. While lifelong Catholics are welcome to attend Masses in an Ordinariate parish, they would be members of a regular diocese (unless a close family member is eligible to join the Ordinariate). If a Catholic has left the Church but is reconciled to it through an Ordinariate parish and completes his or her sacraments of initiation in an Ordinariate parish, they are eligible for membership in the Ordinariate. Lifelong Catholics who worship with an Ordinariate community are welcome to become formal “affiliates” of the Ordinariate, and should consult with their local Ordinariate pastor about how to do so.

  28. glennbcnu says:


    I understand that Roman Catholic bishops are unmarried and celibate, that was not the issue. Yes, there are no WRITTEN rules to prevent an former Anglican, unmarried priest, from becoming a Bishop in the Roman Catholic Church. My point, that I have unsuccessfully been trying to make, is that there is a UNDERSTANDING (unwritten rules) within the dicasteries of the Roman Catholic Church that there will never be any former Anglicans consecrated as bishops in the Ordinariate. Full stop. It won’t happen because Rome doesn’t want it to happen. Why doesn’t Rome wish for there to be former Anglicans made Bishops in the Ordinariate? Holy Mother Church deems that it is not prudent for former Anglicans in the Roman Catholic Church to be bishops. End of story, take it or leave it, there it is…

    I apologize for the capitalization, I am unable to figure out how to bold something.

  29. robtbrown says:

    I was told the US Ordinariate was given a bishop because it has been difficult finding someone to ordain priests. (There have been no such problems with the FSSP.)

    Although Msgr Lopes was not an Anglican, he is familiar with the Ordinariate, having participated in putting together their Missal.

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