Today’s big news: Rome just called


In case you’ve not checked the religious news this morning, a rather surprising announcement was made this morning in England that will have ramifications for Anglicans and Episcopalians all over the world:

“Pope Benedict XVI has approved, within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.”

Thinking Anglicans has pretty comprehensive coverage here.

Just a some quick thoughts about this in no particular order:

  • This is going to have subtle effect on dioceses and Anglican provinces. Now that there’s a real option for Anglo-Catholics, some folks may make the transition.
  • This is probably going to have a bigger effect on the ACNA – why would the Forward in Faith folks remain as fellow travelers now?

  • I wonder what the effect will be on Roman Catholic priests who no longer feel called to celibacy? For many of them the Episcopal Church was a prime option. Will they be able to transfer to another this Ordinariate rite now?

  • The only existing Personal Ordinariate at the moment is Opus Dei. Apparently this category of canonical existence will allow the creation of separate seminaries, etc. It really does allow the creation of a church within a church.

  • I think the real effect of this announcement won’t be obvious for a couple of generations or so. But I wonder how history would have been different were this to have been enacted back in 1900 or so when the possibility of reunification between Rome and Canterbury seemed like such an option.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. John Borrego says

    The Pope has declared that communion with Rome through this Personal Ordinariate will be offered to those who “are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church.” Accepting Rome’s view of “the Petrine ministry,” of course means accepting Vatican I’s doctrine of infallibility when speaking ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals, the role of the Pope as the final and authoritative teacher of the church on all matters, and Rome’s particular view of the history of Papacy as instituted by Christ himself. This is a long step beyond the common Anglo-Catholic declaration that the Bishop of Rome is the “Patriarch of the West.” It also means accepting the teaching of Leo XIII in “Apostolicae Curae” that Anglican holy orders are “absolutely null and utterly void.”
    In short, it means abandoning all that is distinctive about Anglican faith and practice, in exchange for being allowed to use some Romanized version of the Book of Common Prayer (over which, presumably, the Vatican would have full control and authority).
    What about clerical celibacy? Cardinal William Levada has stated that “pastoral care [of clergy in this ordinariate] would be entrusted instead to their own senior prelates, who would not necessarily become Catholic bishops. This is a way around the problem that in the Catholic church, as in the Orthodox churches, married men are not allowed to become bishops.” Sounds like an immediate state of second-class citizenship for clergy who accept this state.
    I hope our Anglo-Catholic brothers who consider joining this ordinariate will carefully count the cost of what they are abandoning by swimming the Tiber. They should remember the distrust with which John Henry Newman was regarded for years by Pius IX because of his quiet and private opposition to infallibility.

  2. Christopher says

    You are ordained into the rite into which you were baptized. Hence, a person baptized in the Roman Rite could not say switch to the Ukrainian Uniate (Eastern Catholic Rite). So, I’m guessing this same thinking will apply to these ordinariates.

  3. That is a bold move but beware of the Catholic Church. I used to be Catholic but then I stopped practicing after I found out some disturbing truth. Some say the papacy is the antichrist. They changed the ten commandments which is the Law of God, the Pope claims to be a god, they have killed innocent people for centuries like the Spanish Inquisition and supporting the Nazis, and the priests have molested a lot of children. Jesus would not approve of any of these, it is not Christian, that is evil hiding behind religion. People really need to open their eyes. I know I did!!!

Comments are closed.