Special Report: Five Myths about the Pope’s Anglican Ordinariates
is now the Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Catholic Church, I doubt that he is prepping everyone for a change in clerical celibacy. Moreover, convert clergy from Anglicanism will be re-ordained, since Rome does not accept the validity of Anglican ordination.
Myth #3 Rome has reconciled itself to the Protestant Reformation
This myth is based on the liturgical norms accepted by Rome for use by Anglican converts. It goes like this: the Anglican Book of Common Prayer is a book of Protestant worship. Rome is now allowing use of its liturgies; therefore, Rome has capitulated to Protestantism. This argument fails to mention that then-Cardinal Ratzinger heavily oversaw the production of the Book of Divine Worship—the approved set of liturgies for Anglican convert parishes. Protestant elements were expunged (e.g. Thomas Cranmer’s consecration prayer), and good elements were retained. The Book of Divine Worship is a “sanitized” version of the Book of Common Prayer, and I suspect that future revisions will be even more traditional in their formulas.
Myth #4 The Anglican Personal Ordinariates will be like Opus Dei (or it will be like the Eastern Catholic Churches)
In canon law, Opus Dei is constituted as a personal prelature. A personal prelature is headed by a prelate (Bishop Javier Echevarria in the case of Opus Dei) and it does not have geographic limits (unlike a local diocese which does have geographic limits), but includes persons who are associated—this is why it's called “personal.” Moreover, it envelops both clergy and laity. It's not a religious “order” because it has a lay element.
A personal ordinariate, on the other hand, is similar but different. It is headed by an ordinary (who can be either a bishop or priest). It too is “personal” meaning that it does not have geographic boundaries like a diocese does. It can also include both clergy and laity like a personal prelature. A personal ordinariate differs from a personal prelature in that an ordinariate is reckoned as a “particular church.” This means that these Anglican ordinariates will not be a ritual churches like the Eastern Catholic Churches (e.g. Maronite or Melkite). The Anglican personal ordinariates will remain under the Roman Rite as expression of its liturgical diversity.
Myth #5 We already know everything about the Anglican personal ordinariates
We do not know much at all about the Anglican personal ordinarates. All we have is the press release from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Here’s really all we know at this juncture: 1) The Pope wants this to happen fast; 2) The Pope is issuing an Apostolic Constitution soon; 3) The Apostolic Constitution will establish the canonical structure of personal ordinariates; 4) The Pope wishes to continue to allow married convert-clergy to serve as priests; 5) The Pope values the “Anglican patrimony” of music, liturgy, reverence, and architecture. This sums up about all we can know at this point.
Here is what we do not know. First, is this a permanent or temporary solution to an ecumenical problem. Will the ordinariates be a ten year, twenty year, or one hundred year project? Related to this question is the concern for how future clergy would be educated and ordained. Would the seminarians training for the ordinariate attend a designated seminary? Moreover, who will serve as the “ordinaries” of the ordinariates if married priests cannot be bishops? Will former Anglican bishops be the first ones considered by the Holy See? What will happen to the current Anglican Use Catholic parishes? Will they be rolled into the new arrangement? And of particular interest to Anglicans, what will the liturgical norms look like? Can the current Book of Divine Worship be revised? The answers to these and other questions await the publication of the actual Apostolic Constitution.
This move by the Holy Father is simply a continuation of his work with Anglicans in the 1980s and 1990s. He understands them, and he is responding to them. We do not even know how many Anglicans will respond to the ordinariate proposal. It could be giant wave of world-wide conversions…or a trickle. Let us pray for the tidal wave.
As a former Anglican priest myself, I am profoundly grateful for our Holy Father’s generous proposal toward Anglicans, “that they all might be one” (Jn 17:21). My journey form Anglicanism to Catholicism has been difficult but it was at the same time a via mirabilis—a miraculous way, as John Henry Cardinal Newman described it. I know many Anglican friends who will take up the Holy Father on his offer. Sadly, I know others who will not. Regardless of how the cards fall, Catholics should recognize that the Holy Father’s announcement stands in full agreement with the ecumenical agenda that he articulated when he became Pope. In conformity to the Sacred Heart of Christ, he seeks to reconcile all who call on the name of Christ. Let us continue to pray with the Holy Father and encourage those Anglicans who seek a new home.
Taylor Marshall is a former Anglican priest and the author of The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity. He is currently a Doctoral Student and Instructor of Philosophy at the University of Dallas.
(please visit: www.taylormarshall.com) His book is available on Amazon.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More U.S. News
- Bridge that collapsed in Washington State was structurally unsound
- Gay youths to be allowed to join Boy Scouts: Controversy rages
- Violent Tsarnev friend killed by FBI after blaming Tamerlan for unsolved murders
- Eric Garcetti becomes Los Angeles' first Jewish mayor
- 12,000 homes damaged or destroyed in Moore, daunting road to recovery underway
- US Supreme Court Accepts Religion Case: Will Legislative Prayer Survive Religious Censorship?
- In the Wake of the Moore Tornado: What Can we Learn from the Disaster?
- Priests for Life: Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Most Significant Legislative Step Forward
- Homeless man whose face was eaten away in cannibal attack recovering
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?