Interview: Fr Dwight Longenecker On the Personal Ordinariates for Former Anglicans
countries where the Anglican Church had been planted.
The Pastoral Provision office will still exist for those Protestant ministers, including Episcopalians, who wish to enter into full communion, but do not wish to belong to the Ordinariate. Those entering the ordinariate will be dealt with by the Ordinary.
Q: What are the common reasons given by these Anglican Christians for their desire to be in communion with Rome?
A: They profess to hold to a Catholic understanding of the historic Christian faith. They have refrained from simply becoming Catholics in the usual way because they desire to retain the riches of their Anglican patrimony. In other words they want to remain Anglo Catholics, but within the Catholic church instead of the Anglican Church.
Q: How many Anglicans is it likely will take advantage of the new provision?
A: No one knows for sure. The Traditional Anglican Communion is one of the groups that has petitioned Rome. They are made up of a confederation of traditional Anglican Churches that have broken from the mainstream Anglican Communion. They have a global presence and claim membership of 400,000 souls. If they all accepted the pope's offer, and there were other groups from the Anglican Communion and other smaller churches in the Anglican tradition, then the numbers could reach 500,000. However, some of the members of the Traditional Anglican Communion have got cold feet and have decided against joining.
So far in England there are five bishops, about sixty priests and several hundred laypeople. In the USA there will be many more. The Australian ordinariate will be established later in the year, and numbers there are uncertain.
What interests me more than numbers is the possibility that in the future these new 'Anglican Catholic' churches might attract significant numbers of non-Anglican Protestants. I know from my experience of Evangelical Christianity that there are many traditional Evangelicals who long for a liturgical, historical and traditional church. They would have problems coming into the Catholic mainstream for various reasons, but they may well find an 'Anglican Catholic' congregation to be an easy way into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Q: Individual Anglicans have always been free to join the Catholic Church at any time, and many have in fact done so in recent years. Why are these special arrangements necessary?
A: The special arrangements allow Anglicans to maintain and promote their special 'Anglican patrimony.' They can have their own identity and not simply be absorbed into the modern Catholic Church. This patrimony is precious, historical and beautiful. It includes the splendid languages of the Book of Common Prayer, Anglican hymns, their sacred choral tradition, their spirituality and their particularly English ethos. The Holy See considers this worth keeping, and believes it will enrich the modern Catholic Church.
Q: Anglican clergymen, including both priests and bishops, have petitioned for this provision. Will married Anglican clergy be able to receive ordination as Catholic priests or bishops?
A: Married men who are presently Anglican clergy may be presented for ordination once they have been received into the church and been properly selected and trained. This is already what happens under the Pastoral Provision. People should be clear that the norm for men applying for ordination within the Anglican Ordinariate will be the discipline of celibacy. However, there is provision for the Anglican Ordinary to ask for married men who are not already Anglican priests to be ordained. This will be considered on a case by case basis according to 'objective criteria' approved by the Holy See. This 'objective criteria' has not yet been published.
Q: Could an influx of married priests into the Catholic Church through the Anglican personal ordinariates exert pressure on the Church to modify celibacy as the priestly norm?
A: I don't think so. The married Anglican clergy will operate pretty much within the Anglican ordinariate and although they may help out in Latin Rite parishes, they will be fringe members of the wider Catholic community. Also, given time, the celibacy rule for the new generation of Anglican ordinariate priests will kick in and married priests will be the exception, not the rule.
Q: Will non-Anglican Catholics who are attracted to the distinctive liturgy and spirituality of the Anglican tradition be allowed to join parishes within the personal ordinariates?
A: Anyone with a link to Anglicanism may join the Ordinariate. This includes Anglicans who convert, but it also includes those who have already converted to the Catholic faith and wish to nurture and enjoy their Anglican heritage. Other members of the Ordinariate will be those converted through the evangelistic enterprise of the Ordinariate parishes. I doubt whether anyone will stop a Latin Rite Catholic from attending worship at an Ordinariate parish, but they are prohibited from joining formally.
Q: What consequences might this new arrangement have for the Catholic Church's ecumenical relations with the Anglican Communion?
A: It will change the old fashioned style of ecumenical discussions radically. I think ecumenical discussions with the Anglicans will continue, but they will increasingly be between two parties that are on divergent paths. This has really altered the course of the old style ecumenism in a major way. One could almost say that Pope Benedict has totally re written the play book.
Q: Is there any evidence that Christians from other traditions with a desire to enter the Catholic Church might be seeking similar accommodations?
A: I don't think so. Instead I believe we will see that the new Anglican Ordinariate will provide a bridge for other Protestant Christians. Once it is established, liturgically and traditionally minded Lutherans and Methodists may very well find that they easiest way in to full communion is through the Anglican Ordinariate. Also, if some of the Ordinariate parishes are 'broad church' in their worship styles (in other words, not too high church) many Evangelicals who are heading toward a liturgical and traditional church may find their way 'home to Rome'.
Fr Dwight Longenecker is a former Anglican priest who has been ordained under the Pastoral Provision. He is is parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Greenville, South Carolina. Read his blog and connect to his website at www.dwightlongenecker.com
- - -
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.
Keywords: Fr Dwight Longenecker, Anglican ordinariate, Anglicanorum Coetibus
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More U.S. News
- Bill Donohue, Catholic League, Disclose Fight with the IRS, Demonstrate Courage
- Father Frank Pavone: Houston Abortionist Killing Babies Born Alive
- Shocking report reveals 38 men, 33 women are raped each day in the military
- Cheap cigarette outlets in U.S. may be funding terrorists
- Why even if you lose, playing Powerball isn't such a bad bet after all
- Nebraska Bishop: Gosnell clinic was 'reminiscent of Auschwitz'
- Sex In Uniform: Why the Increase in Sexual Assaults in the Military?
- Chilling note scrawled by bloodied Boston terrorist reveals motive
- The Storm. The Whirlwind. The Earthquake: Abortionist Kermit Gosnell is Guilty, America is Complicit
- 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?